The Gene Project, a multinational cooperative dedicated to sequencing the genome of every animal, living or dead, that has ever existed, has announced the results of its first genetic analysis of Himalayan yeti fur. After arefully comparing and cross-referencing the DNA with other genomes in their collection, The Gene Project released a press statement claiming that the fearsome yeti is actually a high-altitude giant sloth, closely related both to the extinct giant ground sloths and the extant two-toed, three-toed, and recently discovered seven-toed sloths of South America.

“I’ve heard people in the news media saying that this discovery means that yetis are giant sloths,” says Dr. Nate Lamonda, chief sequencer for The Gene Project. “Frankly, though, it makes more biological sense to say that sloths are tiny yetis. The yeti is taxonomically senior in every way. It’s the same thing you see with dinosaurs: it makes no sense to call a tyrannosaurus and a bird different things. A bird is a small dinosaur just as a sloth is a small yeti.”

This discovery has sent shock waves through the pop culture fandom for the yeti and its American cousin, the bigfoot. “My yeti is a fast, dangerous, voracious predator with cunning intelligence and the soul of a poet,” says Lada Montane, one of the lead administrators of the cryptid fan website cryptids.co.nt. “This is just the sort of thing we saw when those eggheads decided dinosaurs had feathers or that Pluto wasn’t a planet. They are pedants acting out power trips, and these poor, unfortunate creatures are to blame.” Another member of cryptids.co.nt, posting anonymously on the site’s message board, is more succinct: “They can take my Gigantopithecus when they pry it out of my cold, dead hands,” they say, referring to the fragmentary giant orangutang that is often considered a likely suspect for the true species behind yeti sightings.

Dr. Lamonda dismisses such concerns. “Of course people are going to be disappointed,” he says, “but fantasy often simply cannot hold up to the cold, hard light of fact. We didn’t set out to ruin anyone’s day, and yetis are still as majestic, elusive, and possibly mythical as they’ve always been.” He compares the current furor to the times people proved that geese do not grow from goose barnacles, and the outdated idea that mice are born from dirt. “The idea that a hominid of that size could survive in such a harsh climate is ludicrous–only the slow, deliberate lifestyle of the sloth makes sense.”

Despite Dr. Lamonda’s self-assurance and the unambiguity of The Gene Project’s results, many remain unconvinced. “You’ll see, this is just more foolishness that they’ll go back on in five years,” another anonymous commenter on cryptids.co.nt says. “Why, I remember when my old high school textbook said that giant pandas were really big old raccoons. Haven’t heard that one in a while, have you?”

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