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Geographical Index > United States > Himalayan Region (International) > Article # 314

Media Article # 314


Monday, August 12, 2002

YETI The Giant Cousin of Ramapithecus

By Shiva Raj Shrestha 'Malla'  
Kathmandu Post


These grasslands and dense tropical forests could very easily support giant creatures like Gigantopithecus - the probable forefather of Yetis. As a Chinese study on Himalayas shows (Tibet Symposium, 1980 #48) Mt. Everest and Mt. Zhi-jha-Pangma were found to be rising by 0.84 and 0.60 mm annually respectively (even now) and as such, probably the Gigantopithecus were forced to survive and evolve on the land, which were rising higher and higher over millions of years, writes Shiva Raj Shrestha 'Malla'

Do the giant "Ape-like Men" or "Men-like Apes" supposed to have been extinct some 10-15 million years ago still exist in Hindukush-Himalayas? The fossilized remains of such creatures like Ramapithecus, who were only about 4 ft tall and as old as 8 to 15 million years, have been found in Turkey, Kenya, Butaul of Nepal and Sivalik Hills of India and Pakistan. But sufficient scientific proof of the existence of their contemporary giant cousins (scientifically termed as Gigentopithecus) have not yet been found in Nepal. The famous scientist and veteran of high mountain expeditions Prof. Igor Kozlov of Geographical Society of former Soviet Union, firmly believes (Statesman, Delhi, 12 Dec. 1984) that the snowman reported from the Caucasus Mountains between Baltic and Caspian sea and Tyan Shan Mountains on Russian-Chinese Border does exist.

It moves at about 12 k.p.h. and its foot are structured for rapid movement over snowy grounds. To protect itself against rains it lives in shelters. An unsocial type; apparently, this creature is a loner, sleeping by day and leaving its shelter at dusk in search of food, possibly it is a distant cousin of the (very early and more primitive) "Neanderthal Man". Prof. Kozlov and team of scientists have recorded hundreds of encounters in European and Asian parts of former Soviet Union. Prof. William Grant, one of the world's noted Yeti expert and a scientist firmly believes that Yeti could be either descendent of a "Giigantic Anthropoid"; (common term to denote men like apes or monkeys) sighted in Pamirs or it could be a "Giant Hominidae"; (Ape like men and their dissidents like Home-Erectus, etc.) known to anthropologists as "Gigantopithecus" who used to roam in the Himalayas some 10-15 million years ago. (It is generally accepted that giant sized Gigantopithecus, medium sized Shivapithecus and small sized Ramapithecus have evolved from Dryopithecus who were in existence some 25 million years Before Present (B.P.) and who are supposed to be the common ancestors of both monkeys and apes as well as of human beings.) According to former leader of Snowman Expedition on Pamir and Caucasus Regions, in 1978, Prof. Jeanne Koffman confirmed about the indisputable proofs of existence of the "Relict Humanoid"; (surviving trace of more humanlike being).

In her words, the snowmen "Kaptar"; or "Almos"; (like Yetis of high Himalayas) are of about ordinary human height, some times a little taller; has a stooping posture and a squat head resting squarely on his shoulder, a sloping forehead, long arms and entire figure covered with a long red fur. (The Himalayan Yetis are also described to have greyesh-blackish-redish fur.) This description of "Kaptars"; and "Almos" also fits with the description of Yetis. Yetis are known to have extremely well developed instinctive or "Sixth" sense and can predict avalanches and can easily sense snow-covered water-streams and ice crevasses. It is nocturnal and therefore, can see at night. Their hearing power is extremely well developed, which can save them from intruders. According to Prof. Koffman, these snowmen have very heavy and wide foot. (25.5cm = 10" long, which is not abnormal, but the width of foot mark which was found to be 13cm = 5.5" is abnormally wide.) The 2cm imprints found by her on hard soil, denotes the abnormally heavy body structure, notes Prof. Koffman.

Probably the Chinese have the longest tradition of historical record keeping of the activities of "Almos" or "Yetis". A poet (of Chang Dynasty Period), Qu Yuan (340-270 B.C.) has recorded the sighting of a very hairy "Man-like" creature in the mountains. The painting of a "Wild Man" created during Han Dynastic Rule, is yet another evidence. In the modern times, the Chinese Academy of Sciences has taken the Almos and Yetis very seriously. The sightings of the snowman by the members of the Biological Research and Investigation Team in 1977 in Shaanxi-Zhouzhi, is seriously taken by the scientific community. The Chinese scientists, on the basis of some 200 reported sightings and other indirect evidences (such as hair and foot prints etc.,) found in Shaanxi, Hubie and Sichuan (near Eastern Tibet) have concluded that the Almos-Yetis are creatures who can be termed as "in-between Apes and Men".

It is important to note that the remains of Gigantopithecus was found in Kwangsi Province of South-Eastern China (adjoining Yunnan Province, which in turn borders Eastern Tibet and Myanmar). It was in Yunnan, where the fossilized remains of Ramapithecus (of some 7 million years B.P.) and "Australopithecus in Transition" (to be evolved into early Homo-Erectus) of some 1.7 million years B.P. were found. In Nepal, a British Zoological Team also confirmed that a "Life Form" of big-bodied pre-homonid (man like ape) termed as Gigantopithecus was roaming in Himalayas. Prof. John R. Lukas of Harvard University Research Team, after the extensive study of Western Siwalik (foothills of Western Himalaya) has concluded (1984:2. Also see Dr. Prem Kumar Khatri, "Utpatti Manaba Savyataka ... CNAS, T.U. 2053 B.S., pp. 55-56) that the smaller Ramapithecus and medium sized Sivapithecus had migrated from Himalayas to Turkey, Hungary, Greece and Spain some 17 million years ago.

However, this American scientific team is silent about Gigantopethicus, whose fossilized remains were also found in Western Sibalic Hills during 1970-79 excavations. It is as yet to be established, but highly probable that the Gigentopithecus (or Yetis?) were on the move from Himalayas towards South-Eastern China (Yunnan-Kwangsii). It is noteworthy that the tallest peaks of Himalayas like Mt. Everest and Mt. Jhi-jha-Pangma (Goshiansthan) were barely less than 1000 m high and Chure Hills were no-hills at all during the times of Gigantopithecus and Ramapithecus. Some 10-15 million years ago there were very flat tropical forests with grasslands, in those areas (where Chure Hills and inner valleys of Mahabharat Ranges stand now).

These grasslands and dense tropical forests could very easily support giant creatures like Gigantopithecus - the probable forefather of Yetis. As a Chinese study on Himalayas shows (Tibet Symposium, 1980 #48) Mt. Everest and Mt. Zhi-jha-Pangma were found to be rising by 0.84 and 0.60 mm annually respectively (even now) and as such, probably the Gigantopithecus were forced to survive and evolve on the land, which were rising higher and higher over millions of years. These great "Men like Apes" stronger than 10 men put together, must have evolved into present day Yetis and survived in a most hostile environment. But unlike their small sized cousins, the Ramapithecus, it seems that the Gigantopithecus could not evolve with speed. In fact, it is quite possible that in the extreme hostile environment, the process of their evolution had stopped all together. No-body knows for sure.

Have the Yetis still survived in the 21st century? Are the Yetis, whose footprints have been sighted upto mid-eighties in Nepal Himalayas in plenty on the verge of extinction? or are they dwelling in some isolated stretch of lofty mountain ranges? Is there a link between the Himalayan Yeti, the Chinese snowman and Caucasus Region Almos? Many such questions have been baffling the scientists - write Madan Mohan Gupta and Tribhuvan Nath (On the Yeti Trails, UPB Publication, New Delhi-London, 1994). Scientists want hard and concrete proofs. But the elusive, nocturnal and very smart Yetis do not seem to oblige and this most inaccessible, cold, windy and extremely dangerous "Third Pole" called the Himalaya, is bent on hiding them. But the scientists also with night vision gadgets and satellite tracking systems will not giveup.


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Published in the Sunday Post - The Weekly Magazine of the Kathmandu Post


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