Yeti Again

Time magazine announced last week, in a story spelled out on Time.com, that “There may be solid evidence that the apelike yeti roams the Siberian tundra.” This is surprising news given that even in the face of good evidence, science is reluctant to admit new large animals to our biological family. The reasoning goes that since humans (mostly white, male humans of the western hemisphere) have explored most of the landmass on this planet, we could not have missed any large land creatures. There are rare exceptions, such as the mountain gorilla, added to our database only about a century ago, but it seems to have been the last of the large animals to avoid detection. Now the yeti, the bogeyman of many childhood dreams, may be coming to life.

Science is our way of describing and theorizing about what we have discovered. Many therefore assume that science is all about new discoveries. Some of us feel a tinge of sadness at having been born after the great era of discovery. Reading about how adventurers (responsible for far more fundamentally earth-shaking discoveries than scientists of their times) ventured into new worlds and declared the wonders of God revealed in the formerly unknown, is always a humbling experience. We know so little. The mark of the truly educated is not the claims of great knowledge, but the admission of how little we really understand. Does the yeti roam the inhospitable and very sparsely populated regions of Siberia and the Himalayas where it has been a staple of folklore for centuries? We may never find definitive proof, but Time holding out a candle of hope seems a step in the right direction.

Relegated to the world of the “paranormal,” elusive animals demonstrate that the ways we know about the world are multitude. Science does not, and does not claim to, know everything. Indeed, science has a limited frame of reference within which it works. Going out seeking cryptids is not, properly speaking, science. The belief that those seeking evidence display is closer to religious conviction. That does not mean it is wrong or that it is founded upon faulty suppositions. It is simply a different kind of knowledge. It is common to say science is in conflict with religion. It need not be. If we accept science at its word, as doing what it claims to do, there is no need ever to question assured results. Belief, on the other hand, seldom crosses over into the realm of objective truth, empirically demonstrated. If it did, it would not require believing. If yeti is discovered, there will be much celebration among believers, but the creature will necessarily pass into the hands of science. For this reason alone, many are glad to leave it in the realm of folklore and myth. Either way, to some people, yeti will always be real, whether scientifically verified or not.

8 responses to “Yeti Again

  1. They could find a million footprints but it still won’t convince the skeptics. No one will be satisfied unless a group of credible scientists captures HD video of a creature or they kill/capture one. That’s all there is to it. If they were serious about finding a yeti they’d need hundreds of trail cameras, helicopters, sensors, etc.

  2. Helena Constantine

    TO the other reply–there are hundreds of trial cameras, etc. in the Pacific Northwest, and besides thousands of hikers and tourists with cell phones and cameras, which detect exactly nothing in the way of large hominids (or whatever it is supposed to be).

    The problem is no one has ever found any remains, If there is, or was, a large, sustainable breeding population, one would find remains, no matter how elusive the creatures are.

    • If the creatures are half as smart as scientists think they are then it could be nearly impossible to catch one I think. They may have an intelligence capacity of a modern human! Imagine trying to find a specific handful of humans in all of Siberia. It’d take A LOT of people and equipment, probably more than any country or organization would be willing to throw at the operation. That being said, I am very interested in the possibility of unknown creatures. =D

      • Helena Constantine

        That is why I said, all it would take is fining remains. If they exist, there must be thousands of bodies less than a century old. Even if the bones are broken to get the marrow out they would still exist. And it would only take 1 small fragment to supply DNA. I’ve found deer and raccoon bones in my garden. If these creatures existed scientists would find something.

  3. I love this and hope there are yetis. I also hope for their sake and ours, that none is ever captured or killed.

  4. Thank you all for your comments. It is nice to know there is still some mystery in our scientific world.

  5. I love it when we are in agreement from our opposing mountaintops.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s