What Legends and Myths Do You Believe In?

What Legends and Myths Do You Believe In?

Have you ever seen or heard of Bigfoot? An apelike creature about 6 feet 9 inches, covered in black, dark brown or dark reddish hair, who enjoys roaming remote parts of North America? Or so it is said.

How about the chupacabra in Latin America? Or the Loch Ness monster in Scotland?

Late last month, mountaineers from the Indian Army in Nepal found mysterious large footprints in the snow that they identified as belonging to Bigfoot’s Himalayan cousin, a yeti. You can watch this short video.

What do you think: Are the footprints real? Or are they the stuff of legends and hoaxes?

In “Yeti Footprints Found in Nepal Are Maybe (Definitely) From a Bear,” Sandra E. Garcia writes:

Someone found the footprints of a yeti, yet again.

Mountaineers from the Indian Army spotted the 32-inch footprints near the Makalu Base Camp in Nepal, the army said Monday on Twitter. It is unclear if the expedition team was serious about its findings or conducting a trolling experiment on its followers.

Photos the team posted show several long prints in the snow, one directly in front of the other.

Twitter users immediately responded to the tweet, calling the footprints a “yeti catwalk” or saying that the yeti was “hopping” because the footprints were in a line instead of side by side. Others tweeted that it was a “mythological one-legged creature.” One asked the army to please “delete this tweet to avoid international embarrassment of India.”

But what is a yeti? Could these footprints have been from one? And if yetis are real, how could they have existed for so long without posting a single selfie?

The yeti is the mysterious cousin of Bigfoot, both part of the same extremely elusive family. They are part human and part creature — the best of both worlds, if you will. Legends of hairy, oversize hominids lurking at the outer reaches of civilization have been around for centuries and are part of the folklore of several cultures.

The extraordinary thing about the footprints is that they are 32 inches long, Daniel C. Taylor, author of “Yeti: The Ecology of a Mystery,” said. “The only animal that has made a footprint that long is a dinosaur.”

Because a single, lonely animal cannot survive on its own, according to Mr. Taylor, there are two possibilities.

Either there is a population of dinosaur-size creatures roaming the mountains of Nepal, or — and this idea is supported by basic logic — the footprints were created by a bear and its cub.

The article continues:

In his research, Mr. Taylor discovered what he considers the three types of yetis.

The first yeti Mr. Taylor identified is the legend. “That yeti is very much like Santa Claus,” he said.

The second yeti “is the yeti that lives inside of people,” Mr. Taylor said. That yeti is fueled by humans’ need to be closer to nature.

As humans increasingly live in cities, and as climate change begins to endanger Earth’s least populated, most remote natural places, humans indulge their inner yeti to be closer to nature, according to Mr. Taylor.

“We are seeing more yeti sightings now — or footprints now — than we did 20 years ago,” he said.

“The third and final yeti is the one that actually made the footprints,” Mr. Taylor said: the mama bear and her cub.

“I would love for the yeti to exist, but I have never found any yeti evidence that I can’t explain,” he added. “Nothing would make me happier than to find a yeti.”

Perhaps the most likely possibility? That the footprints lead to the yeti inside of everyone.

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

— What legends and myths do you believe in? If none, why not?

— What do you think about the Indian Army’s discovery of 32-inch footprints? Do you think they might be real? Which explanation explored in the article do you think is most likely?

— Have you or anyone you know ever seen a strange or mysterious creature, object or phenomena? How would you explain what happened? What (or who) do you think might be responsible for the strange occurrence?

— Why do some myths and legends persist despite the lack of conclusive evidence or proof? What does the author mean by her statement that the footprints likely “lead to the yeti inside of everyone”? Do you agree?

Students 13 and older are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.