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Officials in west Siberia have announced their plans to begin a new scientific institute dedicated to studying yetis after a rash of reported sightings in remote areas. The AFP is reporting that the region will host an international conference on the ape-like, mythological creatures later this year.
“Organizing an institute or a scientific center would be a logical continuation of research into the yeti,” the administration in Kemerovo, a Russian coal-mining region, in western Siberia said, according to the AFP. “The town of Tashtagol will host an international conference with leading experts into hominids. Based on its results, we will take a decision on opening a scientific research institute to study the yeti.”
Dr. Igor Burtsev, a researcher that will head the new institute at Kemerovo State University, said that around 30 Russian scientists are studying yetis, also known as the abominable snowman, and could work together at the planned institute. “We think that the yeti is a separate branch of human evolution. It lives in harmony with nature,” he said. Dr. Burtsev believes that yetis are neandethal men who have survived. He said that the primary goal of the institute is to “establish contact” with one of the creatures.
According to Yahoo! News, Burtsev told Russian newspaper Itar Press he believed he spotted evidence of a yeti after an expedition last year. “I saw markers [half-broken branches] the creature uses to mark the controlled territory,” he is quoted as saying. “In the woods I have found several artifacts to confirm my theory. I plan to find the Bigfoot’s shelter and even try to contact the creature.”
Dr. Burtsev claims that approximately 30 yetis live in a remote region of Mount Shoria in southern Siberia. He strongly denies accusations that the ‘sightings’ are a bizarre attempt to attract tourists to the region.
Scientists say they have found 15 witnesses in the past year who gave statements that they saw the Abominable Snowman in one remote area. “’We spoke to local residents”, said Dr. Burtsev. “They told us yetis were stealing their animals.”