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Tuesday, 30 October, 2001, 20:21 GMT
Explorers find 'perfect' yeti tracks
'Yeti' print
The print is being sent to the University of Canberra
A group of British explorers claim to have found irrefutable proof of a "Yeti-like" creature on an Indonesian island.

The three-strong team discovered a footprint and hair samples of a primate which they claim could be from an Orang Pendek - meaning 'Little Man of the Forest'.

Andrew Sanderson, 30, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Adam Davies, 33 from Stockport, and Keith Towley from Macclesfield, spent three weeks in the rainforests of Sumatra tracking the creature.

The primate has long lived in the mythology of tribespeople in Western Sumatra and, if proved, could provide valuable clues to the link between humans and apes.

Andrew Sanderson
Mr Sanderson hopes it is 'concrete' evidence

A cast of the footprint and strands of coarse hair are being sent to research institutes at Oxford University and the University of Canberra in Australia for verification.

Crypto-zoologist Mr Sanderson said: "Over the years there have been many sightings of the yeti, but no one has actually come up with any concrete evidence.

"We seem to be the first people to do that.

"We didn't see the creature ourselves but we tracked it for several weeks and we managed to make a plaster cast of one of its footprints.

"It is absolutely perfect and experts are already beginning to get excited about it."

DNA testing

People who have spotted the creature on the island describe it as being 5-feet tall with chocolatey-brown, orange hair.

It has a human-like gait and walks upright on its back legs without the aid of its front fists.

Orang Pendek
The Orang Pendek is said to walk like a human

A digital re-print of the footprint has been sent to Colin Groves, a professor of primatology at the University of Canberra.

The hair samples are being sent to the micro biology unit at Oxford University.

Despite the potential scepticism for such a find, the group hope that DNA testing will prove the existence of a previously undiscovered primate.

Mr Davies said: "This is a world first. The important thing with anything you find is that it can be substantiated or can be independently verifiable.

"That's when we stick our heads over the parapet - you can look a nutter otherwise."

Mr Sanderson added: "It doesn't matter who you are, you could be a scientist with nine letters behind your name or you could go with a packed lunch and a camera for a day trip, if you happen to be in the right place at the right time then you can get lucky."

Next year, the group plan a trip to the Gobi Desert in search of the Mongolian Death Worm - a 7-feet snake which is reputed among natives to cut a person dead with one look.

Click here to go to BBC Tyne Online
See also:

21 Jul 00 | Americas
Ape tape divides experts
20 Oct 98 | South Asia
Himalayan climber's abominable sighting
06 Mar 98 | Americas
The abominable swampman
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