Mystery Prim ate or bearof Central Asia, often confused with the YeTI .
Etymology: Tibetan (Sino-Tibetan) word, apparently with various meanings, among them: a female demon, a person who has gone astray from a religious life, a she-bear, and the red and blue varieties of the brown bear.
Variant names: Chemo ("big"), Chemong, Dredmo ("brown bear"), Dremo.
Physical description: Looks like a bear or large monkey. Taller than a human. Shaggy reddish, black, or dark-gray hair. Sometimes white head-hair. Small eyes. Pointed mouth.
Behavior: Nocturnal. Walks on all fours as well as bipedally. Growls and whistles. Omnivorous. Looks for food under large rocks. Throws rocks. Kills with its hands (or paws). Distribution: Eastern Tibet; Bhutan. Significant sighting: Somewhere southwest of Alamdo, Tibet, in July 1986, Reinhold Messner encountered a large, dark-haired animal that emerged from rhododendron bushes onto the path about 30 feet ahead of him. It rose on its hind legs, turned, and ran away on all fours. Local Tibetans told him it was a Chemo. Possible explanations:
(1) The Brown bear (Ursus arctos), especially the isabelline or red variety found in the eastern and central Himalayas, is known in the Karakoram Range of Baltistan, Pakistan, as the dreng mo; to the Ladakhs in Jammu and Kashmir as drin mor; and in Tibet as the dred mong. Considered by some a subspecies (U. a. isabellinus), the red bear is generally 5 feet 6 inches-8 feet long, with a reddish, grizzled coat. It eats grasses, roots, and scavenged kills such as ibex.
(2) The blue or horse variety of brown bear, sometimes considered a subspecies (U. a. pruinosus), is found in eastern Tibet and Sichuan Province, China. Its blue-tinted brown hairs are tipped with gold or slate-gray. A yellowish-brown or whitish cape forms a saddle mark over its shoulders, hence the name "horse bear."
(3) The Chemo may refer to the Yet or DzU-Teh, while the Dre-mo is a bear. Sources: Edmund Hillary and Desmond
Doig, High in the Cold Thin Air (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1962), pp. 100-101,
119-123; Odette Tchernine, The Yeti (London: Neville Spearman, 1970), p. 175; Terry Domico, Bears of the World (New York: Facts on File, 1988); Reinhold Messner, My Quest for the Yeti (New York: St. Martin's, 2000).
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