The Indian army has been mocked after claiming images of footprints in the snow were evidence of the yeti.
The army’s official account, which is followed by almost six million people, tweeted that “for the first time” one of its mountaineering expedition team had found “mysterious footprints of mythical beast ‘Yeti’ measuring 32×15 inches”.
It said the finding was “close to Makalu Base Camp on 09 April 2019”, adding: “This elusive snowman has only been sighted at Makalu-Barun National Park in the past.”
The post accompanied images of a trail of large prints. However, the claim quickly received a number of sarcastic responses.
Writer Ankit Panda responded: “Either I’m missing the joke, or the Indian Army is claiming that it’s found what it believes is evidence of a literal yeti.”
Author Siddharth Singh tweeted images of people wearing large snow shoes and wrote: “Can there possibly be a simpler explanation?”
Many referenced the ongoing Indian general election, with some wondering whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi would claim the find as a political victory.
Indian satirist Akash Banerjee tweeted: “Expecting a national television address soon with the PM giving more details on how his Army managed to track the Yeti… Something that the Congress hadn’t dared to do in 70 years.”
The ape-like yeti, also known as the Abominable Snowman, has for centuries been part of the mythology of the Himalayas.
However, it is generally regarded by scientists to be a legend due to a lack of evidence proving its existence.
A 2013 study by Bryan Sykes, an Oxford University genetics professor, suggested the creature may in fact be a sub-species of bear.
Deepak Apte, director of the Bombay Natural History Society, told Indian television network NDTV: “Coming from the Indian Army, this claim of finding the Yeti deserves a degree of attention.
“In the natural world, mysterious things do occur. However, unless proved with evidence and backed with a credible scientific publication it is best left as an amateur speculation that needs to be debated further.”