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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 4 September, 2002, 10:53 GMT 11:53 UK
Explorers close to proving Yeti existed
Keith Townley,Andy Sanderson and Adam Davies
Keith Townley, Andy Sanderson and Adam Davies
A group of British explorers is on the verge of proving the existence of a "Yeti-like" creature.

The three-man team has given hair samples found in Western Sumatra to an expert in Australia to test.


If our discovery continues to bear up to scientific scrutiny, it would be a world-first find

Explorer Adam Davies

Andrew Sanderson, Adam Davies and Keith Towley spent three weeks in the rainforests of Sumatra tracking the mythological creature.

Hans Brunner, an associate of Deakin University in Melbourne, offered to analyse two hairs found by the team.

Sideline zoology

Mr Brunner has previously provided testimony which helped prove the innocence of Lindy Chamberlain - the mother wrongly convicted of killing her baby in the 1980s.

Cast of the footprint found in Western Sumartra
Cast of the footprint found in Western Sumartra

The team members are crypto-zoologists, who take time off from their jobs to investigate the existence of such creatures.

No match could be found when the samples were tested against orang-utan, chimpanzee, gorilla, sun bear, red leaf monkey, pigtail macaque, Malaysian tapir and human hair.

Mr Sanderson, of Jesmond, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, said the involvement of Mr Brunner had given their search credibility.

"The fact he has struggled to find a match for the hair is equally significant as it means this creature could exist," he said.

Dr Brunner has yet to check the hair samples against other native species from Western Sumatra but is confident they will not resemble hairs found by the explorers.

"So far I have found that the two hairs which I have are different from any species which I have compared them with.

"If nothing comes which looks like the same I would have to say there could be an animal that we do not yet know about."

Footprint examined

A digital re-print of the footprint found on the expedition is being analysed by Dr Colin Groves, professor of primatology at University of Canberra, Australia.

Andrew Sanderson
Mr Sanderson is from Jesmond in Newcastle
He will not make his findings public until Mr Brunner releases a scientific paper on the hair analysis.

Explorer Mr Davies, from Manchester, said: "If our discovery continues to bear up to scientific scrutiny, it would be a world-first find.

"All eye witness reports are that it walks like a man.

"This has all sorts of anthropological ramifications because there is great speculation about how man has developed.

"This could be living proof of how man evolved."

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

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Expedition member Adam Davies
"We already know what this creature is"

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See also:

30 Oct 01 | England
21 Jul 00 | Americas
20 Oct 98 | South Asia
06 Mar 98 | Americas
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