LONDON -- The Indian army claimed via Twitter to have seen footprints belonging to the "Yeti," the "elusive snowman" of Nepalese folklore, sparking ridicule on social media.
"For the first time, an #IndianArmy Moutaineering Expedition Team has sited Mysterious Footprints of mythical beast 'Yeti' measuring 32x15 inches close to Makalu Base Camp on 09 April 2019," the army's official account tweeted. "This elusive snowman has only been sighted at Makalu-Barun National Park in the past."
Images published on the army's social media page show deep-set footprints at the army's Makalu Base Camp, deep in the Himalayas. The post, sent to the Indian army's 5.98 million followers, had been shared more than 6,000 times as of early Tuesday.
The "Yeti," aka "Abominable Snowman," is often depicted in popular culture as a large, ape-like creature, not unlike how the creature is portrayed in the 1964 Christmas classic "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."
Social media users pounced on the tweet.
One twitter user described the claim as "deeply, deeply embarrassing."
Others drew parallels to the recent news story about a beluga whale that might be a Russian military agent, suggesting that the army could make use of its own "Indo-Tibetan Yeti Force."
However, Tarun Vijay, a prominent author and former politician, according to India Today, congratulated the army, but suggested that the word "beast" was disrespectful and that they should have instead used "snowman."
In reply to Vijay's suggestion, The Wall Street Journal Columnist Sadanand Dhume tweeted: "I'm looking forward to the Indian Navy's official handle tweeting about having found the Loch Ness Monster, and a former BJP MP ticking them off for using the un-Indian word 'monster.'"
Despite the alleged sighting, there's no scientific evidence confirming the Yeti's existence.
In 2011, according to the BBC, tests undertaken at Edinburgh Zoo on a 50-year-old bone fragment believed to be from a Yeti showed, unsurprisingly, that the bone was human.