A group of Russian and American scientsts are this week off to Siberia to evaluate evidence for the existence of the yeti - and to go and look for one themselves.
Scientists at the Moscow-basedInternational Center of Hominology say that yeti sightings have increased three-fold over the last 20 years. In the areas of most sightings, Altai and neighboring Kemerovo, footprints and 'nests' have been found.
"In spite of the abundant testimonial and substantive evidence for the existence of homins, mainstream scientific institutions pay no attention to this subject, while few scientists who are bold enough to take it seriously are subjected to ridicule and ostracism," says the Center.
"The struggle for a new discipline in science is going on."
At the conference, to be held in Tashtagol in Kemerovo, scientists from Russia, the US, Canada, Sweden, Estonia, Mongolia and China will discuss the evidence for the creature's existence.
The Center's head, Igor Burtsev, suggests they're Neanderthals which eascaped the fate of the rest of their kind, and says there may be as many as 30 living in Kemerovo.
Part of the group will sally forth themselves to look for the elusive creatures. It'll be the first formal expedition to do so since 1958.