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Respect The Power Of The YETI! at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
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Wandering through the Asia “land” of Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, you’ll eventually come upon a waterside shrine, laden with many gifts of food, candles and trinkets strewn upon it. “Mount Everest” looms large in the distance, a dramatic, snow-capped backdrop for this sacred spot in the village of Anandapur. But who is it a shrine TO? We must get a little closer to investigate…
It’s a rather strange and ferocious-looking creature, is it not? Somewhat like a bear or an ape, walking erect with claws extended, it is clearly revered by the people who have come to lay down treasures before this statue of it. Since that is “Everest” in the distance, we can be sure that we are approaching the Himalayas, and that can only mean that this feared-revered creature is none other than the fabled Abominable Snowman, a.k.a., the Yeti. This creature has been the subject of countless expeditions and studies by scientists, writers and adventurers for several centuries.
The people of the Himalayas have made the Yeti the subject of much of their local art and folk lore. The Yeti is the stuff of legend, much like “Big Foot” a.k.a. Sasquatch in North America. Primatologists, anthropologists and many other types of -ologists, I’m sure, have studied such evidence as footprints and hairs left behind by this creature, but no evidence has thus far been deemed conclusive insofar as proving the existence of the Yeti.
The Yeti so captures the human imagination, there have been expeditions in search of one as recently as 2008, when a band of Japanese researchers went off adventuring into the Himalayas to see if they could find one. Scientists routinely test “evidence”, usually hairs that are claimed to have come from a yeti, but DNA results indicate that they are always some other type of animal, chiefly bears. That region of Tibet enjoys the presence of three different types of bears – blue, brown and red, and the word “yeti” seems to be derived from two Tibetan words, one for “bear” and the other for “rocky place”. Given the location, “rocky place” does make sense.
One of the pet theories that has been floated now and then about both the Yeti and Big Foot is that somehow, the gigantopithecus giant ape from the Pleistocene era has survived and is alive and well and living in the Himalayas. It’s a nice theory, but most scientists agree that gigantopithecus was a quadruped, which would not explain why the Yeti is able to climb up Disney’s Expedition Everest attraction on two legs while ripping up the tracks with his hands! I guess those fans of the gigantopithecus theory have not been to Disney World recently.
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