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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 October, 2003, 00:30 GMT 01:30 UK
Siberia find revives yeti legends
Mystery foot
Is this the foot of the yeti?
Siberian scientists say they have a discovery on their hands which raises the possibility that the local legend of the yeti - the abominable snowman - is more than mere fiction.

According to Russian TV, the well-preserved furry limb of a mystery creature was found some 3,500 metres up in the permafrost of the Altay mountains, in Russia's remote Siberia region.

"I turned the limb over and examined the sole of the foot, and I thought it looked unsual," Sergey Semenov, the mountain-climber who made the find, said.

"So I decided to bring it back with me."

Scientific tests and X-rays show that the bones are several thousand years old, but attempts to identify the creature they belonged to remain inconclusive.

It looks very human, there are many similarities
Yuriy Malofeyev, the Russian association of veterinary anatomists

Local opinion on the find, described as "surprisingly well-preserved", is divided.

There is a long tradition of alleged sightings in the area of what might - or might not - be the abominable snowman.

Size 36

Local people say the creature must have walked on snow, because the sole of the foot is furry.

X-ray of the foot
X-ray tests remain inconclusive

They have already labelled the discovery as the foot of the yeti.

But veterinary scientists and academics at the local animal research institute and agragrian university tend towards a more rational explanation.

"It looks very human," Yuriy Malofeyev, vice-president of the Russian association of veterinary anatomists, told the TV after examining the X-rays.

"There are many similarities," he said.

That view appears to be supported by the fact that the length of the foot is about 24 centimetre - normal for a human being.

"A size 36 shoe would fit him just fine," the TV concluded.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

The BBC's Richard Forrest
"Despite possibly being thousands of years old, it was well preserved"



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