Giant Hominid or unknown Bear of Central Asia, often confused with the smaller YeTI .
Etymology: Lepcha (Sino-Tibetan) word. Said to be pronounced "chu-tay." Meaning and origin not established, though one derivation is dzu ("livestock") + teh ("animal"). Another is that teh is the same as dred ("bear"). In modern Tibetan, te is a particle attached to a verb and means "when," "after," "thus," or "although" and sometimes forms a gerund ("-ing").
Variant names: Chhudi (in Sikkim), Churails, Chu-teh, Chutey.
Physical description: Bearlike but bigger. Height, 6-9 feet. Shaggy reddish, black, or dzu-teh
dark-gray hair. Flat head. Pronounced browridge. Long, powerful arms. Huge hands.
Behavior: Walks on all fours as well as bipedally. Kills and eats yaks and cattle by catching them by their horns and twisting their necks. Said by the Sherpas to be seen at altitudes of 13,000-15,000 feet.
Tracks: Huge and human-looking. Distribution: Sikkim State, India; Bhutan; Tibet.
Possible explanations: (1) The red or isabelline variety of the Brown bear (Ursus arctos isabellinus) has a pale, reddish-brown coat and stands around 6 feet 6 inches tall. It is found in Alpine meadows between the tree line and the snow line. A rarer blue variety (U. a. pruinosus, with bluish-brown hairs frosted with gold or slate-gray) is also known, especially in Tibet; skins of this bear obtained in Nepal in 1959 and 1960 by journalist Desmond Doig were touted as
YeTI skins, but there is considerable doubt that the locals made any such claim. (2) An evolved Gigantopithecus blacki. This huge-jawed Pleistocene ape lived as recently as 500,000 years ago in southern China and Vietnam, while a smaller species, G. giganteus, dates to 9—6 million years ago in the Siwalik Hills of India and Pakistan. Both species are known only from jaw fragments and isolated teeth. Sources: Ralph Izzard, The Abominable Snowman (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1955), p. 100; Ivan T. Sanderson, Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life (Philadelphia: Chilton, 1961), pp. 268, 325; Edmund Hillary and Desmond Doig, High in the Cold Thin Air (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1962), pp. 31, 101, 117; Odette Tchernine, The Yeti (London: Neville Spearman, 1970), p. 176; Loren Coleman, Tom Slick and the Search for the Yeti (Boston: Faber and Faber, 1989), pp. 97-98.
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