Page last updated at 14:28 GMT, Tuesday, 3 June 2008 15:28 UK

Artist sketches yeti 'photofit'

Yeti by Pollyanna Pickering
Ms Pickering drew the picture after speaking to local "eyewitnesses"

A Derbyshire artist has unveiled a sketch of a yeti, based on what are claimed to be eyewitness accounts from indigenous Himalayan people.

Pollyanna Pickering, 65, from Oaker, drew the sketch after speaking to the Brokpas tribe from the Sakten area of Bhutan.

Ms Pickering said she was also shown a "genuine" 100-year-old yeti scalp when she visited a remote monastery.

The picture will form part of a touring exhibition from 14 June.

"I was amazed when they told me of regular sightings, close encounters and even tales of people being carried off by the migoi [Brokpas name for the yeti]," said Ms Pickering.

"Their descriptions were so detailed, I ended up doing this 'photofit' with them all sitting round telling me to alter this or how that should look.

This could be the single most important zoological find since the late 1930s
Jonathan Downes, yeti expert

"What struck me most was, it wasn't like they were trying to convince me it existed - they were surprised some people think it doesn't. It's no big deal to them, it's another indigenous wild animal."

The Brokpas tribe described a very shy, ape-like creature, about eight feet (2.4m) tall with black, sometimes reddish fur.

Yeti expert Jonathan Downes from the Centre of Fortean Zoology, said if the animal's scalp that Ms Pickering was shown did belong to a yeti, the findings could be "explosive".

"If this scalp is authentic and has bone still attached, it will be probably the single most important zoological find since the discovery of the coelacanth in the late 1930s."

The centre plans to send a five-man expedition to the Russian republic of Karbadino Balkaria in mid-June in search of yetis.

"If it does exist, we now think it a likely descendent from a giant ape called Gigantopithecus blackii which lived in India and China about half a million years ago."




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