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Media Article # 341
Article submitted by M. Twomey
Saturday, August 9, 2003
Explorer finds key to Yeti mystery
By Paul Mcmillan
The Evening Chronicle
An intrepid explorer may have proved the existence of a Yeti-like creature - and it's not the Beast of Bolam.
Tests by experts at Cambridge University and in Australia have shown hairs and a footprint found on an Indonesian expedition by Newcastle's Andrew Sanderson and two fellow explorers do not belong to any known species.
The intrepid trio were searching for the mythical Orang Pendek, also known as the Sumatran Yeti. A paper on their discovery will be published soon.
In February, Yeti hunters were drawn to the woods in Bolam Lake, near Belsay, Northumberland, after anglers claimed they saw a large hairy figure with glowing eyes in the woods.
Hoax footprints were later found painted on a road leading out of the forest but monster enthusiasts still claimed to have sighted the beast.
Tales of a half-ape, half-man-like creature in the rainforest are part of the folklore of tribespeople on Sumatra in Indonesia but, despite sightings by locals and Western scientists, its existence has never been proved.
World-renowned hair expert Dr Hans Brunner spent 18 months analysing DNA gathered by the trio and concluded it matches no known animal. Cambridge University primatologist Dr David Chivers has confirmed his findings and the two men are about to publish a paper on the subject.
The Orang Pendek, meaning "Little Man of the Forest", is said to be 5ft tall, walks upright and is chocolate brown or orange. It is said to have incredible strength and its own language.
Andrew, 32, from Jesmond, was joined on the expedition in September 2001 by Adam Davies and Keith Townley, both from Cheshire.
Andrew said: "The fact the leading world-renowned hair expert has come forward and offered to analyse our findings shows we have credibility.
"The fact he has struggled to find a match is equally significant."
Adam, 34, said Hans Brunner and David Chivers had confirmed the sample is from an unknown primate. He said: "It's a very exciting discovery."
Dr Chivers, vice-chairman of conservation group Flora and Fauna International, said he hoped to get a photograph or find a carcass of the creature but Andrew and the team had found hard evidence.
He added: "Dr Brunner has analysed the hairs and they are not like anything we know. The footprints I have looked at are unique."
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