Reuters News Service
Wednesday October 7 10:52 AM EDT
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - A Tyrolean adventurer said he had destroyed the legend of the Yeti, the mythical creature that has terrified Tibetans for thousands of years.
Contrary to popular myth, the Yeti or Abominable Snowman is not a humanoid ape but a large bear and there are about 1,000 roaming Nepal and Tibet, usually at night, Reinhold Messner announced at the world's biggest book fair.
Bearded, rugged-faced Messner, himself a mountaineering legend since he climbed Mount Everest without using artificial oxygen in 1978, has devoted his life to tracking the creature after a close and terrifying encounter in 1986.
Over the years, several researchers have suspected that the Yeti may be a bear.
German researcher Ernst Schaefer expounded the theory after he was commissioned by the Nazis to seek out the missing link between apes and humans in the 1930s. He even shot a few.
Messner's book ``Yeti,'' unveiled at the Frankfurt Book Fair, claims to confirm this with the help of photos taken during several encounters.