Page last updated at 09:29 GMT, Thursday, 24 July 2008 10:29 UK

Scientists to test 'yeti hairs'

Artisit's impression of the Mande barung of Meghalaya
The yeti is known as a mande barung - or forest man - in India

Hair strands thought to be from a yeti-like creature living in India are to be tested in Oxfordshire.

Scientists at Oxford Brookes University will study the sample, which was found in the state of Meghalaya.

They will see if the strands match a known animal. To date there has been no conclusive proof yetis exist.

The hair was found and handed to BBC reporter Alastair Lawson during an expedition to try and find the animal after a number of reported sightings.

He told BBC Oxford: "The region was thick with jungle and very hot, an unlikely country you might say to find a yeti.

"But the tribal people who live there claim to have seen fossilised footprints of the creature which could have existed in prehistoric times.

"Then one of the locals said he once saw a yeti and afterwards gathered hair which he thinks might be from the creature.

Yeti hairs owned by Dipu Marak
Scientists will study hairs collected in India

"It would have taken a long time to test in India due to bureaucracy, so I decided to bring it to England."

Scientists at Oxford will perform a microscopic analysis on Thursday before it is taken to Bristol where a DNA test will be performed.

The little known Indian version of the legendary ape-like creature is called mande barung - or forest man - and is reputed to live in the remote West Garo hills of the north-eastern state of Meghalaya.

Lawson was invited to the region to hear evidence of the existence of a black and grey ape-like animal, which stands about 3m (nearly 10ft) tall.

Now he hopes his quest will end with a positive outcome.

"I have to admit I will be a a little bit disappointed if the hair turns out to be from a yak or a cat, but we'll see," he added.




SEE ALSO
On the trail of the 'Indian yeti'
17 Jun 08 |  South Asia
Artist sketches yeti 'photofit'
03 Jun 08 |  Derbyshire
'Yeti prints' found near Everest
01 Dec 07 |  South Asia
Evidence of 'jungle yeti' found
12 Oct 04 |  Manchester
Fisherman catches 'living fossil'
01 Aug 07 |  Science/Nature

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