Indian army says it found yeti footprints in the Himalayas

Mount Makalu is the world's fifth highest mountain and is located about 12 miles south of Mount Everest.
Prints in the snow near Makalu Base Camp in Nepal.Indian Army via Reuters
By Caroline Radnofsky and Nidhi Dutt

The Indian army says it has discovered footprints in the Himalayas that appear to belong to a yeti, known in the United States as bigfoot or the abominable snowman.

Measuring 32 inches by 15 inches, the footprints were found near Mount Makalu base camp April 9, military officials posted on Twitter late Monday.

A spokesman for the country's defense ministry told NBC News on Tuesday that photographs taken by the army's mountaineering expedition team had been passed on to "the scientific community" for verification.

The announcement, which referred to the yeti as a "mythical beast," was met with mixed reaction online.

Some noticed that the photos appeared to show the footprints in a straight line, one behind the other, similar to what might be expected from a model.

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Tarun Vijay, a former Indian lawmaker, tweeted his congratulations. However, he cautioned against describing the yeti as a "beast." He added: "Show respect for them."

Molecular biologist Ross Barnett said that if DNA samples were collected, they could potentially be analyzed to determine what kind of animal left the footprints in the snow.

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Research carried out by Barnett and fellow ancient-genetics expert Ceiridwen Edwards in 2014 had found that DNA samples taken from reported yeti sightings matched brown bears local to the Himalayan region.

The Indian army's mountaineering expedition team was credited with finding the footprints.ADG PI/Indian Army

Whether or not the origin of the footprints was narrowed down, Barnett was confident yeti sightings would continue.

"You can’t kill a legend with anything as mundane as facts," he said.

Mount Makalu is the world's fifth highest mountain. It is located on the border between Nepal and China and is about 12 miles south of Mount Everest.

Caroline Radnofsky

Caroline Radnofsky is a London-based reporter for NBC News.

Nidhi Dutt

Nidhi Dutt is a journalist based in New Delhi, India.