'Oriental Yeti' May Be a Sick Common Mammal

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Yesterday, The Telegraph in London ran a story about a mysterious "Oriental yeti" trapped by hunters in Sichuan Province, China. Lu Chin, a hunter, is quoted in the story as saying, "It looks a bit like a bear but it doesn't

have any fur and it has a tail like a kangaroo." He likened its call to a cat, and then added, "There are local legends of a bear that used to be a man and some people

think that's what we caught."

At least one YouTube member was inspired to create a video about the find.

Beijing scientists, according to the Telegraph story, plan to identify the "yeti" animal by its DNA, but other people already think they know what the animal is: a sick, common mammal with mange.

Loren Coleman, author of more than 30 books on mythical creatures, including “Bigfoot!

The True Story of Apes in America” published by Simon and Schuster, told The Christian Science Monitor that he thinks the animal is either a common

civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), or a masked or Himalayan palm civet

(Paguma larvata). Regardless of the type of civet, the animal is hairless, he believes, due to mange, a skin disease caused by parasitic mites.

Palm civets have become famous in recent years on shows like "Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern." That's because civet coffee is made from beans that have passed through a civet's digestive tract and been defecated. The beans are removed from the excrement, dried and ground into what is one of the world's most expensive coffees.

Coleman additionally believes that other so-called legendary animals of recent years, such as the chupacabra of the American southwest, are also just hairless, well-known species suffering from mange.

Based on the images, the "Oriental yeti" looks to be in pretty bad shape, with sores visible on its bare skin. I hope that this moment in the spotlight at least earns the poor individual some good medical care.