Experts Gather For Siberian Yeti Conference

Large footprints in the snow have long fueled speculation that a mysterious beast lives in the icy wastelands of East Asia. Now a team of experts is gathering in a remote Russian town to examine the alleged existence of the creature known as the Yeti, promising "surprising findings."

Do Yetis really exist? A number of people are convinced they do. And this week, tales of a seldom-seen humanoid wandering the remote regions of the earth will be the focus of an international conference in the central Siberian town of Tashtagol.

Experts from seven countries will gather in Siberia's Kemerovo province some 3,200 kilometers (1,988 miles) east of Moscow from Oct. 6 - 8 to address the possible existence of the fabled creature. They hope to determine whether the Yeti, also known as the Abominable Snowman, has truly managed to elude curious explorers for centuries, as some speculate, or if the shy being is merely a myth.

Representatives from Russia, the US, China and four other countries plan to share evidence and analyze the infamous creature's biology and living habits. 'Surprising Findings' in Store Although experts are hard-pressed to provide indisputable evidence of the Yeti's existence, the international delegation does intend to present "surprising findings, unique photographs and audio recordings" at the meeting, a spokesperson for the Kemerowo region said.

That particular area of Siberia is no stranger to the legend of the Abominable Snowman. Reported sightings of the beast in a cave 80 kilometers outside of Tashtagol in the past have led local game wardens to install motion-sensitive cameras in the area, although they have yet to document the creature's presence.

Last year, the provincial administration even issued a "Yeti warning," claiming that the devastating fires sweeping across the region were likely to force the reclusive, ape-like beast out of the forests to look for food.

The word "Yeti" originally comes from the Himalayan mountains of Tibet, where strange tracks in the snow have traditionally been attributed to the creature. The reported physical characteristics of the Yeti are similar to those of the legendary North American creature called Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. Many alleged sightings of these hairy animals are believed to have been hoaxes.

cjc -- with wire reports