'Yeti finger' turns out to be human

Posted by Kate Taylor

Scottish scientists have analyzed the DNA of a mummified finger claimed to belong to a yeti.

The finger's about three and a half inches long and blackened, with a long nail, It was recently rediscovered at the Royal College of Surgeons in London during cataloging.

It was brought back from Nepal in the 1950s - smuggled out of the country with the help of actor James Stewart. It had been removed from what's known as the Pangboche Hand, claimed to be the hand of a yeti, and kept in a temple.

Explorer Peter Byrne was able to get permission from the temple to remove one finger in secret - which was then smuggled back to Britain in Stewart's wife's lingerie case.

However, the finger's now been analyzed by scientists at Edinburgh zoo - who have concluded that it's actually human.

"We had to stitch it together. We had several fragments that we put into one big sequence and then we matched that against the database and we found human DNA," Dr Rob Ogden, of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland told the BBC, which has made a documentary about the tests.

"So it wasn't too surprising but it was obviously slightly disappointing that you hadn't discovered something brand new. Human was what we were expecting and human is what we got."

The team says it's very similar to known human DNA sequences from that region of Asia, and could have belonged to a long-ago monk. The Royal College of Surgeons says it's happy to return the finger to the monastery.