Alma, Sasquatch, Sherpa, Rufous Yeti

The Americans call him Sasquatch. The Sherpas of the Himalayas refer to him as the Yeti. In Russia he goes under the name Alma. He perhaps the most famous of cryptozoological mysteries because, according to reports, he looks so much like us. Some people hold it is a primitive form of man. Others think it is an unidentified new species of gorilla. In fact, if he were alive today, the Pleistocene Gigantopithecus might well be a dead ringer for today's Big Foot, Abominable Snowman or Russian Wildman.

The Abominable Snowman and Yeti is probably related, although the two creatures inhabit very different parts of the world. Bigfoot's habitat is the wilderness of North America, while the Yeti is restricted to the uplands and mountains of Nepal and Tibet. Both creatures appear only in the winter months. They have a particular dislike for bears, which hibernate during winter, and they walk with some difficulty except in deep snow. They emerge from their dens in autumn, but do not move far away from them until the ground is covered with snow.

The Rufous Yeti, which lives in the higher mountains of Nepal where the snow lies all year round, is an exception to this rule. Apparently it does not hibernate and is active all year round. Claims to have seen Bigfoot during the summer months are always proved to have been the sighting of an unusually large bear.

The tracks of both Bigfoot and Yeti have some resemblance to a bear's hind feet, being long and heavily padded, but the difference is that Bigfoot and Yeti walk with long two-footed strides and their tracks show four humanoid toes on each foot. The depth to which the tracks are pressed into the snow shows that the creatures are of substantial size and weight.

Both Bigfoot and Yeti appear to be harmless to humans, although a sudden confrontation with either creature might cause it to lash out in alarm. The people of Bigfoot and Yeti habitats claim to have heard the creatures grunting and snuffling outside their tents during the long winter nights, but they never venture out in pursuit.

Their superstitious fear of the creatures has given rise to such unjustified names as the Abominable Snowman, although conversations are certain that Bigfoot and Yeti are merely the harmless survivors of an endangered species.