New (April Fools' Day) research on Yetis

Please note, this post is satirical. Please enjoy a laugh, but do not even think of citing this in any kind of scholarly research. Though some of the names are real, the post is not to be taken seriously.

Guest post by Jonathan Higman

A newly-created research institute at a Russian university is looking for adventurous GW students to study the yeti.

The Yeti Institute was created this year at Kemerovo University (KemSU) in southern Siberia after a sudden increase in yeti reports. The human-like creatures, sometimes called “abominable snowmen,” are alleged to steal sheep from isolated farmsteads.

“In Russia there are about 30 authoritative scientists who are engaged in studying the phenomenon of the ‘Abominable Snowman.’ All of them will be integrated into this institute,” said Igor Burtsev, the

Maxim Lysenko, director of internationalization at KemSU, said the George Washington University, and especially its anthropology students, are attractive candidates to help with the research because of their love of studying abroad and their track record of work in biological anthropology.

Lysenko pointed to continuing work on fossil footprints in Kenya by Brian Richmond and several of his students and their related research into modern human gait.

“As with Bigfoot,” Lysenko said, “much of the evidence for the yeti is in the form of pedal impressions.”

Cleveland Krantz of Grays Harbor College in Washington State, a noted investigator of Bigfoot, is skeptical. “I’ve seen the pictures,” he told the Vancouver (Wash.) Star, “and to me they say, ‘Just some fat dude with rickets.'” However, he urged further research into the matter.

“I’d let my own daughter go yeti-hunting in Siberia,” Krantz explained. “I mean, they have 30 scientists trying to study zero yetis. They need help.”

The proposed U.S. program is still in the planning stage, Lysenko said, and no Americans will be participating before the summer of 2012. The institute is hoping for students who are “fun-loving and adventurous,” since most of the yeti reports come from remote regions that are best reached by helicopter.

“Skydiving experience would be a plus,” he said. So would knowledge of Russian, although most of the people reporting yetis are native speakers of Shor or other Turkic languages.

“That’s sometimes a problem,” Lysenko admitted. “One time we thought a Shor speaker was talking about a yeti but the word he was using actually meant Sumo wrestler.”

Contacted about the proposed program, GW Eurasian studies student Louise Bryant said it would be a great résumé-building experience.

“In these competitive times,” she explained, “being able to say I used my language skills to do cutting-edge science in a remote part of Eurasia would be great for my career. Plus, yetis are totally cool.”

Jonathan Higman is the lead administrator at the George Washington University Department of Anthropology. He received his M.A. in anthropology in 1983. Despite considerable birdwatching in alpine environments, he has never observed anything rarer than a mountain lion.

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