AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – Sightings have been reported for centuries. Footprints have been spotted.

The “Yeti” or abominable snowman lives on in mythology around the world, but does it actually exist?

The story of this creature has been passed on through generations especially in areas like Nepal and Tibet.

“I’m glad people are interested in it,” said Stephanie Gill, a PHD Candidate at the University at Buffalo who worked on this study.

Her journey into studying this legend came from a proposal from a film company: Icon Films.

She said, “They came with these yeti samples. There are 9 of them, and they were curious if we could do genetic testing on these samples.”

As scientists, she and her team led by professor Charlotte  Lindqvist, don’t traditionally believe the yeti exists.

But never the less, it was an opportunity to study ancient bones and DNA.

“For the yeti samples, some of them were fairly old, and some of the them we didn’t really know how old, so we actually prepared them in a dedicated clean room facility.”

Bone, hair, skin and scad samples were studied. The team learned the samples actually come from a few Asian bear species, and one dog.

Besides tracing the origins of the yeti legend, the teams work is uncovering information about the evolutionary history of Asian bear, many of which are endangered:

Gill said, “It was very exciting to get these samples and especially to get more data bout these bear populations that are really poorly studied.”

Moving forward, although there is no link to a yeti, Gill says studying the animals may help bring to light the environmental history of the region where these bears live.

You can learn more about the yeti and the UB led study here.