Artist creates Yeti Photo-fit...
03 Jun 2008 -- THIS sketch of a yeti was created by a British artist after listening to eye-witness accounts from Himalayans who claim to have seen the famous beast.
Pollyanna Pickering was in Bhutan, in the Himalayas, gathering material for a new exhibition when she saw what is claimed to be the scalp of one of the animals.
The 65-year-old artist, from Derbyshire, said she was able to draw a sketch of a yeti after speaking to the indigenous Brokpas people.
And she was shown what is claimed to be a genuine 100-year-old Yeti scalp, with bone still attached, when she visited a monastery in a remote part of the region.
She said: "I was told this was from a migoi - their name for the yeti. All I know is, it was bigger than any human or ape scalp I'd ever seen.
"It had tufts of reddish-black fur coming out of it and was mounted on a pole and seen as a holy relic."
UK yeti expert Jonathan Downes, of the Centre of Fortean Zoology, which studies "mystery" animals, said: "This is potentially 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."
Ms Pickering said: "The Brokpas tribe are the original inhabitants of the Sakten area of the Bhutan.
"I was amazed when they told me of regular sightings, close encounters and even tales of people being carried off by the migoi.
"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.
"They describe it as a very shy ape-like creature, about eight feet tall, with black, sometimes reddish fur.
"But 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. They see it as just another indigenous wild animal, roaming the mountains with their snow leopard. There's nothing mythical about it."
Stories of wild men and mystery apes are found across Central Asia, and the Centre of Fortean Zoology is sending a five-man expedition to the Russian republic of Karbadino Balkaria in mid-June in search of them.
Mr Downes said: "Certainly their accounts of it being a shy, gentle animal fits with all other information we've gathered over the years.
"If it does exist, we now think it a likely descendent from a giant ape called Gigantopithecus blackii which lived in India and China around half a million years ago and was between eight to 10.5 feet tall.
"But we think that rather than a gorilla, the yeti is probably more closely related to the orang-utan."
The yeti sketches will be shown in the Land of the Thunder Dragon exhibition, which will tour the United States and Canada following its debut in Derbyshire from June 14 to 29, 2008.
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