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DNA Analysis Debunks Long-Held Belief on 'Yeti Finger


"...it wasn't too surprising..."

This bone was once believed to be a yeti finger. (Photo via BBC)


Nepalese monks long believed this finger, said to be from a yeti, was a talisman against bad luck, according to the Daily Mail. In a dramatic tale of how the finger was almost stolen and then reluctantly given to an American, the true identity of the of the finger has been reveled by DNA analysis more than 50 years since it was taken from the monastery.

The answer, as you might expect, is anticlimactic. It's a human finger.

The Daily Mail reports that Irish-American explorer Peter Byrne had been searching for evidence of yetis in the 1950s and heard of a rumor of a preserved hand in the Pangboche Monastery. When he trekked to the monastery in Nepal he was told by the monks, as would be expected, that he couldn't have it. What transpired next, involved Byrne considering stealing a finger off the hand, at the request of American Tom Slick who was financing his endeavor and wanted to analyze the bone and replacing it with a human finger. Luckily, the monks eventually agree to part with a finger but Bryne still had to attach the human finger and make it look real:

Byrne returned to the monastery, and although the monks were reluctant, they eventually agreed to part with the finger for £100 — only if Byrne could find a way of disguising the missing digit.

The mountaineer wired the human finger on to the relic, before painting it with iodine to make it look the same colour as the rest of the hand. He now faced a perilous journey home.

In the previous year, the Nepalese government — bizarrely — had brought in a law making it illegal for foreigners to kill a Yeti.

Watch the Huffington Post report for more:

The finger was brought back to London with help from movie star Jimmy Stewart from "It's a Wonderful Life" and his wife who hid it in her luggage to get it through customs. It was given to a primatologist Professor William Osman Hill who analyzed it and determined that it was not human. From there, the case was closed and the finger was stored at the Royal College of Surgeons museum in London.

That was until it was rediscovered and analyzed by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. A BBC program announced the results. BBC has more from the society:

Dr. Rob Ogden, of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: "We had to stitch it together. We had several fragments that we put into one big sequence and then we matched that against the database and we found human DNA.

"So it wasn't too surprising but it was obviously slightly disappointing that you hadn't discovered something brand new.

"Human was what we were expecting and human is what we got."

Primatologist Ian Redmond said: "From what we know of accounts of Yetis, I would have expected a more robust and longer finger and possibly with some hair on the back.

"If one had just found it without the story attached to it, I think you would think it was a human finger.

Even though it was found to be human, the Daily Mail reports that some are hoping the digit can be returned to its rightful owner, the monastery.

Earlier this year we reported a group of Siberian scientists reported they were 95 percent sure evidence supported the existence of yetis.

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