Tetrapod Zoology

That most famous of yeti tracks

i-c5395bafb642c4ba86c3c02bd2b2ff78-Shipton with boot.jpg

The image depicted in the previous brief post is one of those famous iconic photos that many people have seen but few know anything about: it’s an alleged yeti track, photographed by Eric Shipton and Michael Ward on the 8th November 1951 on Menlung Glacier during their exploration of the Gauri Sanker range in the Himalayas (Heuvelmans 1995). Together with the Sherpa Sen Tensing, Shipton and Ward apparently followed a trail of large, human-like tracks for about a mile but, unfortunately, only photographed one track. There have been several efforts to interpret this track as one made by a giant, unknown primate. I regret to say that I have come to a different conclusion…

While Shipton and Ward failed to photograph more than one track from the alleged trackway, they did take more than one photo of the now-famous track, as both an ice-pick and a boot can be seen acting as scale-bars. Based on this data, and on the description provided by Shipton and Ward, the track was 31.2 cm long and 18.7 cm wide, meaning that its width was 60% of its length (McNeely et al. 1973). The track is not only proportionally broad, but also has a broad, rounded heel. There appear to be five digit impressions, with a large hallux impression being offset relative to the other four digits, and a long second toe impression that’s separated both from the hallux impression, and from the impressions of the other digits. Three small, rounded digit impressions appear to present digits III-V, but the fact that only the toe tips are visible suggests that the digits were united at their bases (whether a ‘digit V’ is really present depends on your interpretation).

i-ecbb438e4502609cd25d8682ecac1b75-Shipton foot compared.jpg

A reconstructed foot sole, based on this track, has often been depicted in the literature (see adjacent image: the Shipton yeti foot is in the middle, with a human foot to the left and gorilla on the right). Because this foot morphology looks fairly plausible when compared with the feet of gorillas and other apes, yet is unique enough to support the idea that the yeti is a distinct species, there has been a willingness amongst cryptozoologists to regard the track as firm existence for the yeti’s reality. Heuvelmans (1995: though first published 1955) used this reconstructed foot morphology to help characterise the unknown species that he dubbed Dinanthropoides nivalis, for example (though he noted the possibility that this species might prove congeneric with Gigantopithecus).

i-99497e69e52a5befbece800912e0d553-Shipton uncropped 2.jpg

However, I’ve always eyed the photo with suspicion. In fact, I suspect that it’s a fake. As several of you noted previously in the comments, the track is made unrealistic by the strange, irregular depressions that occur at the left and right edges, and particularly at the heel. These cannot be reconciled with real structures that occur on a primate’s foot, and they can’t be taken as evidence for melting because the very sharp edges of the track must mean that – as Shipton and Ward noted – it was fresh and undistorted by sublimation. It looks to me as if a depression in the snow (not necessarily a track of any sort) was modified, and augmented by the addition of fake digit impressions. What appears important in view of this is that the oft-reproduced versions of the photos – the one shown at the top for example – are cropped. However, the full photo (reproduced as Plate 1 in Napier 1974, and shown here) shows just such a depression (viz, one less foot-like and lacking digit impressions) below and to the right of the good one.

If the good track really was one track from a trackway, why didn’t Shipton and Ward photograph more tracks, or at least take a photo of at least part of the trackway? Actually, the photo has often been reproduced together with a photo depicting a trackway (e.g., Heuvelmans 1995), the implication being that this trackway consisted of a whole string of tracks identical to the good one. But no, the tracks in the photo are amorphous and rounded (not subrectangular and with digit impressions), and were clearly not produced by a bipedal primate. Meldrum (2006) noted that the tracks were produced by a quadruped, and Eberhart (2002) stated that ‘Shipton and Ward are said to have later admitted that the trail had nothing to do with the photographed Yeti print and may have been made by an Ibex (Capra ibex) or Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus)’ (p. 611). So I conclude that the famous, iconic image is a fake. There are indications that others have thought so too: Edmund Hillary apparently ‘chalked Shipton’s tracks up to a runaway practical joke’ (Meldrum 2006, p. 37).

i-c75238b017468d32febcdda728094080-there are no good yeti pictures on the internet.jpg

However, the Shipton track isn’t the only alleged yeti footprint that has been reported and photographed, nor does its rejection have any bearing on the body of eyewitness evidence. Contrary to popular opinion, the yetis reported by eyewitnesses are not pure white snow-beasts that live on icy peaks, but are reddish, brownish or blackish apes that dwell in the montane Himalayan forests. They seem about as remarkable as mountain gorillas are. Does anyone want to give me the funding to go find one?

For brief previous thoughts on yetis see the ‘Is cryptozoology monster hunting?’ article (go to the comments, where you can find a discussion of Messner’s bear theory).

Refs – -

Eberhart, G. M. 2002. Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology, Volume Two. ABC Clio, Santa Barbara.

Heuvelmans, B. 1995. On the Track of Unknown Animals. Kegan Paul International, London.

McNeely, J. A., Cronin, E. W. & Emery, H. B. 1973. The yeti – not a snowman. Oryx 12 (1), 65-73.

Meldrum, D. J. 2006. Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science. Tom Doherty Associates, New York.

Napier, J. 1974. Bigfoot. Readers Union, Newton Abbot.

Comments

  1. #1 Christophe Thill
    June 16, 2008

    Looking at the second photograph, and bearing your remarks in mind, I was struck by something. What if it was an “improved” human footprint? The original toes would be toes # 2 to 5 of the “yeti” print. Doesn’t toe #2 look very much like a human big toe? OK, that makes a 4-toed footprint. Well, you can either fill up the depression made by human toe #2, to create a space. Or you can keep that toe artificially raised when printing your bare foot into the snow. Isn’t this crystal clear once you look at things this way? You can even see the (real) heel, printed obliquely, in front of the “yeti” heel print.

    Now, what about the rest of the shape? I wondered whether it might have been made with a shoe, but “backwards” (the tip of the shoe being the yeti’s heel). But it’s not convincing, as such a shoe would need to have a narrow heel deported on the side (the yeti’s big toe) which seems strange. But whatever it was made with, I think that the bare foot print came after.

    So what do you think… ?

  2. #2 Christophe Thill
    June 16, 2008

    Hmmm, looks like my idea already appeared in the other thread… sigh…

  3. #3 Darren Naish
    June 16, 2008

    I think this is pretty interesting (yes, Jaime Headden mentioned it previously) but am not yet sure what to make of it. One thing occurred to me while considering it: note the fact that the boot photographed adjacent to the track is positioned in such a way as to suggest that the owner’s foot was not inside it. In other words, either Shipton or Ward was standing around with an unshoed foot at some point here. Hmm.

  4. #4 Sven DiMilo
    June 16, 2008

    Quite clearly the nose-print of a giant undescribed rhinogradentian.

  5. #5 Christophe Thill
    June 16, 2008

    Quite right! The boot shows clearly that it’s approximately the right size for the owner of the (hypothetical) bare foot print. Well, right size for a human foot, anyway.
    I also note that the yeti’s big toe is suspiciously regular and ronded (bottom of a small bottle, or a drinking cup?) while the heel zone is much less regular, and looks a bit like it was printed with a straight-edged object (back of the icepick, perhaps?).

  6. #6 RipiRip.Org
    June 16, 2008

    Now, what about the rest of the shape? I wondered whether it might have been made with a shoe, but “backwards” (the tip of the shoe being the yeti’s heel). But it’s not convincing, as such a shoe would need to have a narrow heel deported on the side (the yeti’s big toe) which seems strange. But whatever it was made with, I think that the bare foot print came after.

  7. #7 Mark Witton
    June 16, 2008

    I was wondering if ‘digit 1′ could be a human heel print: they’re a pretty good match for that shape and the size is consistent with the other ‘digits’ (they look like human toe prints to me, and the left margin follows the contours of a human footprint, too). Of course, the whole foot doesn’t need to be placed down, either: you could stick your heel into the snow without leaving much other trace of your foot. Also, note the shallowness of the toe impressions: bipedal apes push off with their toes, so they should be at least as deep as the heel impression. Hmm.

    Oh, and as for the on-or-off nature of the boot, you can pretty easily squat down with the lateral margin of your foot facing upwards (I am, in fact, doing it as I write this), so I’m not sure I take that as an argument for it being fake.

  8. #8 Darren Naish
    June 16, 2008

    Mark: on the position of the boot, note the adjacent nearby edge (it’s a vertical drop of a short distance [c. 30-60 cm], as evidenced by the boot print on the piece of ice at the very top) – this would have made it a very difficult place to squat.

  9. #9 Sordes
    June 16, 2008

    What a chance…only a few days ago I did read the chapter about the adominable snowman in Heuvelmans´ “On the Track of unknown Animals” and now this topic appears at Tet-Zoo.

  10. #10 shiva dan
    June 16, 2008

    Now that i’ve seen the pic with the boot for scale, i’m even more convinced that it’s a normal human left footprint with additional bits at the top right and bottom left. In fact, it even looks like it could be the foot that the very same boot belonged to (it looks like a left boot).

    “Digit I” isn’t a real digit impression.
    “Digits II-V” are actually digits I-IV (or possibly digits I and II-V) of the human foot. Either digit II or digit V of the human foot is either missing or not touching the ground (I vote for digit V, because it’s reasonably common for a shortened tendon to cause the little toe not to touch the ground).

    If i didn’t suck so badly at drawing with a mouse, i’d post an outline, but once you’ve “seen” it, it’s pretty clear…

  11. #11 Lars Dietz
    June 16, 2008

    Yes, I can definitely see the human footprint.
    Another funny coincidence: Today, the regional newspaper here (the WAZ) has an article on Reinhold Messner with the headline “The real Yeti”.

  12. #12 Mark Witton
    June 16, 2008

    “note the adjacent nearby edge (it’s a vertical drop of a short distance [c. 30-60 cm]…”

    Yeah, well, if you, um… stand on one foot and hop around a little, you can kind of squat…

    All right. I stand corrected: someone foot was clearly getting cold while the photograph was being taken.

  13. #13 skeptical mind
    June 16, 2008

    Look carefully. It is the same footprint in both photos.

    -The pickaxe has a shadow.
    - However, the boot does not. Very odd! Was the footprint photgraphed much later in the day with the axe? No, the boot has small depressions in the snow near the toe and heel of the boot. These depressions in the snow are missing in the axe picture. So the axe picture was taken first, in the late evening, and the boot picture was taken the next day at noon (no shadow).

    - However, there is no erosion of the footprint from sunlight between the axe picture and the boot picture, despite the fact that the boot picture was taken 18 hours later, and the snow was exposed this whole time.

    - The boot and the axe are exactly the same length. This is unlikely.

    I would guess that both pictures are fake.

  14. #14 Nathan Myers
    June 16, 2008

    Shall we rename the blog “Pseudopod Forensics”?

    Semi-seriously, congratulations to the readers above for such perspicuous observations. If only such discernment could be brought to bear on the Frog Problem, or anyway on the Funding Problem. Please do note the tiny “Make a Donation” button hiding demurely to the left, below the book-jacket images.

  15. #15 Jerzy
    June 16, 2008

    What about some poor Nepalese whose shoe broke and he walked barefoot with remainder of a shoe sole dangling to the right?

  16. #16 Jerzy
    June 16, 2008

    …at least Shipton & Ward didn’t purposefully commit fraud.

    Actually, there is also clear deeper area like rough X in the left-centre of a sole. Some piece of boot-strap or folded clothing?

  17. #17 Jerzy
    June 16, 2008

    The guy/woman had raised digit II. Common in people who wear tight shoes – even in Europe now.

    Couldn’t find good pictures of Nepalese footwear online. “X” might be sandal strap. Shoesole could be actually more on the side.

    I once walked in shoes like that… not in snow, but was angry like yeti.

    …at least plausible. Something mundane, yet would confuse the unwary. Only it doesn’t explain, of course, the proof of Tintin comics!

  18. #18 Christophe Thill
    June 16, 2008

    “…at least Shipton & Ward didn’t purposefully commit fraud.”

    Hmm… Of course I don’t know those guys personnally, and I don’t want to accuse people, but… it rather looks to me like they did. Or, well, technically, a prank or a joke is not really fraud…

  19. #19 Alan Kellogg
    June 16, 2008

    Proper footprints aint that common. How a footprint turns out depends on a number of conditions; what shape is the foot in, how does the animal walk, do prints overlap, what were the ground conditions? An incline will give you different results than flat ground. A foot that lands on a surface that is part rock and part soil will give you different results. If the subject is walking up on its toes or limping, you’ll get different results. You don’t always get clean prints.

    In the case of the print we’ve been speculating about; did the surface lie flat or at an angle? Was it a smooth surface, or rough? Were conditions such that the foot would spread as it landed, thus spreading the gap between II and III, and possibly deforming the impressions produced by I and III. From what I can see, the Menlung Print is not a clean print. Though it was likely the cleanest print the men could find.

    Reading tracks is not an easy job. Keep that in mind whenever you read about speculative primate prints.

  20. #20 Jaime A. Headden
    June 16, 2008

    My impression is that someone took an opportunity to take several steps out and then transform them. This may have been a joke played on the explorers, rather than the explorers themselves. If a trackway was discovered, were the discoverers of the mindset to study it and actually analyze the sequence? However, the stories of the yeti may have come to the maker, who augmented the prints. Standing on snow, and them skewing the heel laterally, pivotting on the external ball of the foot, will produce a “carved” external broadening of the heel print. I am not sure this will produce a simile of that image, however … it doesn’t snow much in Portland, so it will be a while for me to try and experiment. A thumbing of the snow can produce the hallucial print.

    None of the print features look like an antelope-like hoof, which should be sharp pointed anteriorly or at least angular in aspect, rather than strongly rounded.

  21. #21 Atila
    June 17, 2008

    [offtopic] Have you ever seen this site?
    http://www.besse.at/sms/evolutn.html

  22. #22 Malcolm Smith
    June 17, 2008

    So what does one make of the Kongmaa La footprints? These appeared outside the camp of the Arun Valley Wildlife Expedition on the night of 17-18 Dec 1972 under excellent conditions. According to the expedition’ chief scientist, Edward W Cronin Jr: “The prints are similar to those photographed by Shipton, differing only in being smaller, with a shorter hallux, and perhaps indicating an immature or female yeti.”
    (Cronin: “The Yeti” Atlantic, Nov 1975) pp 47-53)
    He also mentioned that they made a full photographic record of the prints, and that the expedition mammalogist, Jeffrey McNeely made plaster casts. Does anyone know where they are now?

  23. #23 Darren Naish
    June 17, 2008

    You can see photos of the plaster casts in the literature (e.g., Meldrum’s sasquatch book, p. 40). They are not like the Shipton/Ward track at all – they have a narrow heel impression, a much smaller, narrower hallux impression, and the digit II-V impressions indicate similarly sized digits. Whether they’re real or not, they don’t change the observations which indicate that the Shipton/Ward track is faked.

  24. #24 Alan Kellogg
    June 18, 2008

    Then again, it could be a picture of a print laid down by footwear. Basically a locally made mukluk style boot constructed with individual toes.

    Why individual toes?

    To keep the toes separated and to wick away moisture from between them to forestall fungus. Cold weather clothes can get hot and sweaty during exertion. Prime fungus conditions.

  25. #25 Craig York
    June 18, 2008

    “People prefer to believe what they prefer to be true” and
    since it appears most of the folks here prefer to believe
    the print/prints were faked, suggesting that the
    “Irregular depressions” might have been made by something
    stuck to the bottom of the Yeti’s foot is probably futile.

  26. #26 Daniella Perea
    June 18, 2008

    With all due respect, thats bullshit. I would love it for the track to be a real yeti track and for yetis to be real. But if you want to play the rules of science, you go where the evidence leads. This is not a real footprint and what you suggest is so unlikely it can be ignored.

  27. #27 Mark Lees
    June 18, 2008

    Well most of you here seem to have convinced yourselves it’s a fake. :)

    I honestly don’t know. I am far from convinced it’s genuine, but at the same time think that the suggestions posted here are not particularly convincing either.

    It is worth pointing out that Shipton, who ranks among the greatest modern day explorers, continued to insist to his death that it was genuine.

    I’ll keep an open mind on this one – I don’t count it as major evidence relating to the exitence or otherwise of the yeti, but I think that most of the commenters here are being a bit hastey in jumping on the band wagon.

    And to Daniella – don’t mistake opinions for science. What we have here is an exchange of opinions, educated and informed opinions maybe, but still opinions.

  28. #28 David Marjanovi?
    June 18, 2008

    Look, I want it to be real. But look at it. If that’s not enough, read the last couple of comments. It isn’t real. There’s just no way around that.

    It is worth pointing out that Shipton, who ranks among the greatest modern day explorers, continued to insist to his death that it was genuine.

    This suggests that he didn’t fake it.

    What we have here is an exchange of opinions, educated and informed opinions maybe, but still opinions.

    Look closer. What we have here are testable hypotheses.

  29. #29 Christophe Thill
    June 18, 2008

    I know it’s generally not easy, and not too rigorous, to use the obviousness of something as an argument. But wta more can I say here? The print of a bare human foot, superimposed on another print in the snow (whether a shoe print or something else; whether made on purpose or not) is just that: obvious. Once you spotted it, you can’t escape it anymore. It’s totally consistent.

    As for the rest, I’m not sure, and many hypotheses can be proposed. But one thing is for sure. There’s a real footprint there, it was made by a primate, possibly big and hairy (who knows), but definitely not a Yeti…

    I feel embarrassed for Heuvelmans, who was certainly not stupid. And I feel even more embarrassed for the guy who reconstructed the sole of the “Yeti”. His work is a terrible exercise in wishful thinking and selective perception. If he saw the human footprint in the picture, he did everything he could to make it disappear. If he didn’t… well, I hope he got glasses since then.

  30. #30 Allen Hazen
    June 18, 2008

    Heuvelmans was not stupid, but “On the Track of Unknown Animals” in effect set up an experimental test of the Cryptozoolgical approach (at least for “charismatic” animals). What I think should be embarrassing to cryptozoologists (and which I find very, very sad and disappointing) is that in the… 50? … years since it was published, NONE of the cryptids described have made it into the ex-cryptid, officially recognized species, category. Not even the very plausible and seemingly well-attested Queensland tiger-cat.

    Darren, I know this sort of thing– the apparent fakery of one of the most famous Yeti tracks, the unconvincing nature of all Loch Ness monster photos– must be saddening and disappointing to you, too. But thanks for posting your fascinating and detailed articles on them!

  31. #31 Darren Naish
    June 18, 2008

    ‘Saddening and disappointing’? Hmm, I’m not sure. I’m interested in this stuff, not through blind passion, but because I want to see the evidence tested and taken as far as it can go – if that leads to negative conclusions, that’s fine. And thanks for your appreciation of this; I wish more scientists took the time to bother with mystery animal research. Are there any rich benefactors out there?

  32. #32 Malcolm Smith
    June 19, 2008

    This discussion inspired me to check some of the articles on a Russian website:
    http://alamas.ru/eng_publ.htm
    One of them was by Michael Ward himself [originally published in Wilderness & Environmental Medicine, 8:29-32 (1997)]. He claimed that the photographs were genuine, but argued that the tracks were probably made by a cold-adapted, barefoot human being. He did not specifically discuss this particular photo.
    The other was by Michael Trachtengerts (2003), who argued that the print was actually the superimposition of two 4-toed footprints, and he noted that Shipton had reported tracks of two individuals crossing each other. It does go some way towards explaining the depressions on the sides and heel. At any rate, it is worth considering.

  33. #33 Jerzy
    June 19, 2008

    “in the… 50? … years since it was published, NONE of the cryptids described have made it into the ex-cryptid, officially recognized species, category.”

    Yep. Amen to that.

  34. #34 Craig York
    June 19, 2008

    True enough. And as it happens I’m fairly skeptical about
    the existance of any surviving large primate, at least in
    category of the Yeti or the Bigfoot. But on the other
    hand, how many efforts have spent as long in the field
    as, say Dr. Goodall did in her early days? As Dr. Naish*
    sort of points out, funding for this sort of thing isn’t
    thick on the ground. The work that does get done is little
    better than a travel show. Two days in the field taking
    a few snaps, mocking the locals, then its back to
    Hollywood. I don’t wonder that a lot of y’all don’t take
    Crptozoology seriously.
    In any case, if you should ever decide to write up the
    evidence the last paragraph of this entry, I’ll look
    forward to reading it as much as I have most of the rest
    of your work.

    * If I’m applying a title you don’t own, I apologise-
    Its intended as simple repect, not flattery.

  35. #35 Loren Coleman
    June 19, 2008

    Allen Hazen writes: “On the Track of Unknown Animals in effect set up an experimental test of the Cryptozoolgical approach (at least for “charismatic” animals). What I think should be embarrassing to cryptozoologists (and which I find very, very sad and disappointing) is that in the… 50? … years since it was published, NONE of the cryptids described have made it into the ex-cryptid, officially recognized species, category.”

    If Mr. Hazen is merely talking about the cryptids mentioned in Heuvelmans’ 1955 (French)/1958 (English) opus, I think you would find some who would argue with his statement. While all of the “big” cryptids, such as the Yeti and Tasmanian Tiger, in the book may not have been confirmed, a few cryptids have come into the zoological fold that were in his treatise. Most notably, new lemurs which Heuvelmans predicted would be found.

    It looks like I’m going to have to write a blog entry myself about this frequent side trek that tries to take Heuvelmans’ book to task as some kind of yardstick, as if it is the last frontier in cryptozoology, as opposed to only having been a good opening.

  36. #36 Gerard Willemsen
    June 20, 2008

    I can imagine the human option. Everybody living in an arctic environment like me, knows what happens to tracks in cold snow after some time. They become considerably larger and they can grow asymmetrically and deform the original imprint, due to sun, wind etc. Many “yeti” tracks have been produced that way in my garden.

  37. #37 Allen Hazen
    June 20, 2008

    Loren Coleman–
    Heuvelmans’s “OTTOUA” was the first book I ever bought with money I’d earned myself (shortly after the English translation came out), and I’d be very interested in your discussion of it!
    You’re right, I was only referring to the “biggies” that get chapters of their own. He does remark in a more general way that Madagascar could have discoveries in store, and he was right about that.
    (Note I wasn’t speaking of the Tasmanian tiger/wolf, but of a supposed catlike predator in Queensland, which H. said was, of all the unknowns discussed in the book, the one closest to acceptance by orthodox zoology.)

    ((On the general methodological side: I think H.’s argument from the correlation between water temperature and the “species” of sea serpent described in sightings (in “In the Wake of the Sea Serpents”) fascinating: I have more than once used it as an example in philosophy of science classes.))

  38. #38 Noni Mausa
    June 22, 2008

    As much as I always wanted ABSMs to exist, I cannot see why we haven’t got a tooth, a rag of bone or hank of hair, a frozen and partly decomposed juvenile… not a smidgen.

    Sanderson guessed at a couple dozen species worldwide, yet we have nothing but our regular great apes. Granted, Gorilla gorilla is a recent addition to the “regular great apes”, (The American physician and missionary Thomas Staughton Savage first described the Western Gorilla (he called it Troglodytes gorilla) in 1847 from specimens obtained in Liberia.–Wiki) but since then we now have 6B of us swarming all over the place we should have found some DNA-able fragment somewhere if they are our contemporaries.

    Their (presumed) intelligence shouldn’t make it harder to find them — it should be easier. Surely even if the adults are canny, an especially curious and stupid juvenile should have wandered into a suburb by now, scaring the dogs and raiding the dustbins?

    Pity.

  39. #39 Tim Morris
    June 24, 2008

    I read a book recently by mountaineer Reinhold Messner that asserts, as opposed to simply putting forward, the concept that yetis are simply misidentifications and myths built up around giant himalayan “grizzly bears”. I know that it’s very possible that BOTH the bear hypothesis and the wilman hypothesis are valid, seeing as the author seems to think that yetis enjoy wandering in snowfields, waiting to be seen, as his bear sightings seem to be. But seeing your explanation of yetis as forest-dwelling as opposed to montane, pretty much blows open his hypothesis as full of holes (no matter who agrees with him, the Dali Lama included :/)

  40. #40 Darren Naish
    June 24, 2008

    Tim: Reinhold Messner has changed his mind, changed his mind, and changed his mind again. Apparently, he gave up on the bear theory after literally walking into a yeti. This was previously discussed on Tet Zoo here.

  41. #41 Tim Morris
    June 24, 2008

    Thankyou for that Darren. I was rather silly to ask that as you included a reference to the bear hypothesis and where to find the discussion in your post. Rather stupidly I thought that for some reason you were referring to the polar+brown bear hybrid at the end there, but after re-reading that anecdote, and tracking down the comment, I found and read that, only to find you so patiently and politely directing me there in your reply anyhow!

    I should pay attention to how obsolete some texts become, maybe by reading the publishing date from now on! :P

  42. #42 Atomic Mystery Monster
    July 6, 2008

    This site notes that Shipton was accused of doing practical jokes on other occasions…

  43. #43 Drew Webster
    September 4, 2008

    Of course you have to say the prints are altered, you can’t have an ASIAN Bigfoot print looking like that, and the American Bigfoot looking like a Giant human print.

    http://www.bermuda-triangle.org/html/gigantopithecus–_the_jury-rig.html

  44. #44 Dave Mac Keil
    June 20, 2009

    Sparked by the Destination Turth print I came across this site. Shipton’s photo to me must be compared to “all” other photos taken in this mountain area thru out the years and it must be viewed with all of Shiptons photos of this expedition. Until the science community take this as serious as they do a hubbel photo of unknown space which all except as the turth how can anyone sciences or yeti hunter dismiss the evedience thru out the ages. Why can’t infrared scans of the mountain areas be made to locate possible multible heat sources which may be these large animals. Sounds simple to me but feel free to call me scray. DMK

  45. #45 Donn
    July 18, 2010

    Mark Lees says:

    “Well most of you here seem to have convinced yourselves it’s a fake. :)

    “I honestly don’t know. I am far from convinced it’s genuine, but at the same time think that the suggestions posted here are not particularly convincing either.

    It is worth pointing out that Shipton, who ranks among the greatest modern day explorers, continued to insist to his death that it was genuine.”

    Quite right, Mark. I’m way late coming in here, but for future readers (like me!) a little scientific common sense needs to be injected here.

    1. I will take the opinion of someone who was there – particularly someone of Shipton’s stature – over a pack of bandwagon riders any day of the week.

    2. “If the good track really was one track from a trackway, why didn’t Shipton and Ward photograph more tracks, or at least take a photo of at least part of the trackway?”

    Simple, they just didn’t. [**]It happens, particularly at altitude. I saw what I have increasingly come to believe over the intervening years could have been a sasquatch trackway, in a very remote part of Northern California in 1986. I took not one shot despite a camera and monopod at the ready. I rationalized. So dark I thought I’d need a tripod; who would believe me anyway? etc. And how could those depressions be so deep, when we (my wife-to-be saw it too, and has no hesitation saying what it was) couldn’t make a dent in the substrate in heavy packs and Vibram boots? (I later learned that this is a consistent characteristic of sasquatch tracks.) And: I saw it; and cared not who else did. Who knows why they didn’t take more shots? It casts nothing on what this was, one way or the other.

    3. As Mark, I find nothing here any more convincing than Shipton’s word. Far less, in fact. Cryptozoology has suffered its entire history from this kind of foregone post-”sleuthing” by people less than fully qualified to analyze, or judge.

    4. Prints of which casts were taken in other areas, by scientists, e.g. in the Arun Valley in 1972, look like this one.

    5. George Schaller, one of the more qualified people there is out there, is quite intrigued by what he’s seen, including this and the Arun casts.

    6. To indulge in the precise kind of speculation I see above, only much more reasonable: a fake track will look like a human track, not like this one. Ask 100 people what a yeti’s foot looks like, and they’ll say: human. Don’t believe me? Try it.

    7. The recently found Ardipithecus ramidus is [speculated] a bipedal critter with an opposed great toe, not exactly like this print but the principle I trust you get. I didn’t think so either; but I guess I was wrong.

    8. I have seen anomalies such as Darren uses to debunk the Shipton track many times in my own booted tracks in snow. Sometimes a hunk gets lifted out of the track, adhering to the bootsole, for any of a number of reasons. I’ve seem more than one instance that is very reminiscent of what is seen here. I’d expect such an occurrence to be more likely with a naked primate foot than with one in boots. (And no, that is no more, nor less, covincing than anything else I read here.)

    9. Speculation must be backed by evidence in order to be taken seriously by a scientifically-inclined mind. Like, say, mine. (I’m not a scientist. But I think like one. Not just on TV; all the time. ;-) ) I see no such evidence here.

    Until #9 becomes the only way crypto evidence is handled, we won’t have any luck confirming cryptids.

  46. #46 Donn
    July 18, 2010

    Mark Lees says:

    “Well most of you here seem to have convinced yourselves it’s a fake. :)

    “I honestly don’t know. I am far from convinced it’s genuine, but at the same time think that the suggestions posted here are not particularly convincing either.

    It is worth pointing out that Shipton, who ranks among the greatest modern day explorers, continued to insist to his death that it was genuine.”

    Quite right, Mark. I’m way late coming in here, but for future readers (like me!) a little scientific common sense needs to be injected here.

    1. I will take the opinion of someone who was there – particularly someone of Shipton’s stature – over a pack of bandwagon riders any day of the week.

    2. “If the good track really was one track from a trackway, why didn’t Shipton and Ward photograph more tracks, or at least take a photo of at least part of the trackway?”

    Simple, they just didn’t. [**]It happens, particularly at altitude. I saw what I have increasingly come to believe over the intervening years could have been a sasquatch trackway, in a very remote part of Northern California in 1986. I took not one shot despite a camera and monopod at the ready. I rationalized. So dark I thought I’d need a tripod; who would believe me anyway? etc. And how could those depressions be so deep, when we (my wife-to-be saw it too, and has no hesitation saying what it was) couldn’t make a dent in the substrate in heavy packs and Vibram boots? (I later learned that this is a consistent characteristic of sasquatch tracks.) And: I saw it; and cared not who else did. Who knows why they didn’t take more shots? It casts nothing on what this was, one way or the other.

    3. As Mark, I find nothing here any more convincing than Shipton’s word. Far less, in fact. Cryptozoology has suffered its entire history from this kind of foregone post-”sleuthing” by people less than fully qualified to analyze, or judge.

    4. Prints of which casts were taken in other areas, by scientists, e.g. in the Arun Valley in 1972, look like this one.

    5. George Schaller, one of the more qualified people there is out there, is quite intrigued by what he’s seen, including this and the Arun casts.

    6. To indulge in the precise kind of speculation I see above, only much more reasonable: a fake track will look like a human track, not like this one. Ask 100 people what a yeti’s foot looks like, and they’ll say: human. Don’t believe me? Try it.

    7. The recently found Ardipithecus ramidus is [speculated] a bipedal critter with an opposed great toe, not exactly like this print but the principle I trust you get. I didn’t think so either; but I guess I was wrong.

    8. I have seen anomalies such as Darren uses to debunk the Shipton track many times in my own booted tracks in snow. Sometimes a hunk gets lifted out of the track, adhering to the bootsole, for any of a number of reasons. I’ve seem more than one instance that is very reminiscent of what is seen here. I’d expect such an occurrence to be more likely with a naked primate foot than with one in boots. (And no, that is no more, nor less, covincing than anything else I read here.)

    9. Speculation must be backed by evidence in order to be taken seriously by a scientifically-inclined mind. Like, say, mine. (I’m not a scientist. But I think like one. Not just on TV; all the time. ;-) ) I see no such evidence here.

    Until #9 becomes the only way crypto evidence is handled, we won’t have any luck confirming cryptids.

  47. #47 Donn
    July 18, 2010

    “Their (presumed) intelligence shouldn’t make it harder to find them — it should be easier. Surely even if the adults are canny, an especially curious and stupid juvenile should have wandered into a suburb by now, scaring the dogs and raiding the dustbins?

    “Pity.”

    Not at all. There are many, many reports of just such behavior – raiding dustbins; killing ducks, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and hogs; peering in people’s windows; walking down suburban streets; scaring the crap out of people on their back decks or watching TV…name it, and if a wild animal has done it, a hairy hominoid has been caught doing it.

    It’s just that nobody takes the reports seriously, beyond the people to whom they happened and the people who investigate the reports.

    Evidence that doesn’t get followed up, doesn’t yield proof. Yet another problem mainstream scientists seem to have a hard time understanding when this is the topic.

  48. #48 Donn
    July 18, 2010

    And as to this from Daniella Perea:

    “With all due respect, thats bullshit.”

    When you introduce a half-cocked squawk like this into a serious scientific discussion, you better be prepared to back it up, with evidence for your position. Yours, please? (To respond with another half-cocked squawk, a scientist would know, is out of the question and, as you put it so well, can be ignored.)

    “But if you want to play the rules of science, you go where the evidence leads.”

    There is no evidence for Darren’s point here, nor for any other point made here favoring a fake. None. It’s his – and their – opinion; and for all his credentials, Darren hasn’t convinced me of his ability to accurately read a 345th-generation copy of a photograph. This print is beyond debunking. Period, end of story. The strongest single remaining opinion of what this is is Shipton’s; and barring something none of us can foresee, so will it always be. Meaning? We will never know what this is, until we find out what the yeti is. Or watch whatever made this as it makes another one.

    “This is not a real footprint and what you suggest is so unlikely it can be ignored.”

    Your evidence for this viewpoint, please? That suggestion (or the one I offer, really just a variant) is not unlikely at all, as anyone who has gone for a walk can attest.

    (I have gone for a LOT of them.)

  49. #49 NJ
    July 18, 2010

    a little scientific common sense needs to be injected here

    …and a crank who jumps onto a > 2 year old thread to post 4 consectutive comments is just the person to do so!

  50. #50 Donn
    July 19, 2010

    …and somebody who does the same jump to post something like, um, you did, NJ, is contributing, um, huhn?

    Big piles of shit require many shovels. Sorry if you missed the memo. When some people jump onto old threads, they like to contribute to them. For others, it, well, may be a bit much to ask.

    This is a science thread, and requires thought. As in other areas of life, children should be seen and not heard. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of non-thought up there. Some of us like to uphold the tenor of the board.

    Um, NJ.

    When you have thought something, about this thread I mean, do post back.

  51. #51 richb
    December 11, 2010

    It seems that you are labelled a luney even for raising the subject.

    The photographs (Feb 2008 Langtang region, Nepal) on the attached link have striking resemblance to the Shipton images (at least in my opinion). I am perfectly willing to accept that they may be the prints of a bear – My point is the similarity.

    And there was no prank involved here at least (I can’t speak for Shipton and co).
    The text is there to be read on the link, including the ridicule.

  52. #53 Allen Hazen
    December 12, 2010

    richb-
    Photos of the tracks don’t seem to be available at the web-page you link to. (Clicking on “photographed” in the first paragraph gets an encyclopedia article on photography. The three attachments at the end seem to be protected: I got an error page saying I didn’t have permission to access when I tried.

  53. #54 richb
    December 13, 2010

    Sorry I am not very good at this
    So try this.
    http://trekinfo.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20748

  54. #55 Allen Hazen
    December 13, 2010

    Thanks! I’ll admit: the photos DO look similar to the Shipton one. (In fact it looks as if Shipton’s photo with the ice-axe for scale has been reproduced on the trekinfo page for comparison: smaller b&w photo between two color ones.) The resemblance is SO striking that, were I of a suspicious mind, I’d suggest that someone was copying the Shipton photo to hoax you!

    Alas, I don’t know enough about bear, etc, tracks to make any useful comment. Not even enough to know whether I should be suspicious or not!

  55. #56 richb
    December 14, 2010

    No neither do I have any expertise in identifying the print. Especially so giving that they are on snow and subject to some deformation. The point is the similarity to the Shipton prints.

    No it is no hoax – I can’t accept that. Possible yes, but I absolutely do not buy it given the circumstances. Although these were found along a route travelled a few people each day. The chances of actually coming across them was very small as the possible ‘route’ over the iced and therefore extended stream (quite difficult ground) was perhaps 100m in width from memory.

    Cheers