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Welcome to Care of Magical Creatures!


Welcome to Care of Magical Creatures! This is the fifth year of the course. You can find the first year of the course here. Below you can find links to an optional textbook, additional pages you may find of interest, and details about when and why the course was last updated. 

At this time, CoMC is taking PA applications. Interested applicants can apply here


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Many artistic depictions of creatures used in this course were created by the DeviantArt user maryquiZe. We recommend checking out her work!

Course Last Updated: July 2020 for Image and Formatting Updates

Announcements Last Updated: October 2021

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Lesson 3) Cryptid of the Muggle World

Welcome back students! I hope everyone enjoyed the lesson on magicryptozoology and the introduction of the year-long assignment last week. Professor Cattercorn and I have been waiting anxiously to introduce this project to you all. I think it is our favorite project out of all of them. This lesson we will be covering a creature not only recognized in the wizarding world, but also in the Muggle world as a cryptid. This lesson will also be one of your first introductions to true anatomy. We will be providing some pictures of bones, so please be aware of that. There will not be any blood or flesh in these pictures, as it is never my intention to alarm you. Now, let us get to the content! Today we are covering yetis!

Yetis are large, ape-like creatures native to the Himalayan mountain range and are frequently sighted by Muggles in Tibet, a region on the north side of the mountains. They are classified as beasts with an XXXX rating. Yetis have since been placed in other snowy areas, like Russia, by different ministries to preserve their populations. They are covered in pure white hair that turns silver as they age, and their skin is black. Yetis have incredibly sharp fingernails and toenails, so be wary of those! The average adult height for a yeti is fifteen feet! Can you imagine? That’s about three times as tall as myself. I have only ever seen yetis from afar, and even then they appeared huge. I can’t imagine standing next to one!

Image result for yeti harry potter

Yetis are omnivores, though they lean more towards meat than vegetation when available. Living in an extreme environment means they can’t always be choosy. If all that is available are berries and leaves, that is what they will eat until they stumble upon a protein source. With their size, they can easily catch the different species of deer and wild donkey that are native to the region. Yetis, while living in communal groups called colonies, hunt alone. Males are expected to bring game back to the group, whereas females are tasked with offspring care. Each different food source is placed into its own pile, and after all individuals have returned to the group with their catch, each yeti is then given a share. Females with offspring are given slightly more, as they are lactating, but it is split equally for the most part.

Fun fact! We can pass diseases, like the common cold, onto yetis. This was first introduced by Gilderoy Lockhart in his book Year with the Yeti. However, we have since discovered he stole all of his stories from other individuals, so credit has not been able to be awarded to the appropriate individual. While Gilderoy Lockhart is a buffoon for the most part, he was incredibly skilled at Memory Charms in his prime. The search for the true owner of this experience is ongoing, but it is long believed that the type of Memory Charm placed on them would be too strong to overcome. It is my personal hope that someday Mr. Lockhart can overcome his mental incapacities to identify the persons who truly accomplished all these feats. Maybe then credit can be given where it’s due.

To come back from that slight tangent, let’s discuss their reproduction. But first, please let me hand the lesson over to Professor Cattercorn while I prepare some material for the next section!

Thank you, Professor Anne. I’m sure you were confused as to how I was involved with today’s lesson, especially since Professor Anne said last week that I would be here. I’m here to discuss the reproduction and life of yetis while Professor Anne readies material for you.

Yetis typically have a single infant at a time, though in rare cases twins have been documented. Their gestation period is 260 days, or about eight and a half months. Once a baby is born, it will stay with the colony for the duration of its life. The only time a yeti would leave is if there were territorial conflicts. For example, there are sometimes disagreements over who is the alpha male. This happens most frequently after the current alpha male dies, without any grown male offspring. The decision of who will become the new alpha then is made. This is typically decided through fighting or competing to gather the most meat. The male that is seen as the strongest and most resourceful is given the title by the colony. His competitor often leaves the colony, as tension typically remains between the two. Females, such as the mother or sisters of this male, may choose to leave with them so the family is not separated.

Yetis live for an average of 75 to 90 years. When seeing a full grown yeti, it is often very difficult to determine how old they are. Their hair is stark white from the time they are born, then transitions to silver around 50 years of age, so you can’t observe that to age them. Additionally, they don’t lose their hair over time, and their skin, especially around the face, is already pretty wrinkly. Essentially, the simple physical indicators of age we look for in humans or other primates are not useful. The best way to determine the age of a yeti, if you can get close enough, is to look at their teeth. As yetis age, they slowly lose their teeth, starting with their front incisors. Your incisors are the teeth with a narrow edge that are best used for cutting. Yetis will start to lose their incisors around 65 to 70 years old, with some losing them as late as 80 years old. After the loss of their incisors, the yeti has at most ten years to live. Eating becomes difficult, which means they often don’t have the energy necessary to hunt and participate in other normal activities. When a yeti dies, their colony adds their body to what magizoologists refer to as a burial pit. Every colony has one. It is a large pit in the ground where all dead are placed. This is seen as symbolic, as all of the colony’s ancestors are in one place.  

I will now turn the lesson back over to Professor Anne, who seems to be ready to move on! Don’t worry, I will be back next lesson discussing a creature at length.

I’m sorry for that students, as that’s not typical fashion for us. However, it was necessary to ready the materials I will be showing you for the next section: anatomy!

It is important to discuss yeti anatomy, as they are the creature whose anatomy is most similar to us, meaning you could find their bones and mistake them for humans! It is also crucial in understanding their posture, which is significantly hunched for walking bipedally. Now, I am sure you must be wondering, why would someone want to walk hunched over all the time. Wouldn’t it hurt their back? Well, yetis have become adapted to a hunched posture for several reasons. Imagine you were fifteen feet tall, constantly running into the tops of caves, tree branches, and various other plant life in your environment. That isn’t ideal. Thus, the yeti has had an evolutionary trade-off. This means that something beneficial happened to their body, but something else had to compensate for that. In this case, their height developed to aid in fighting each other, but their posture had to compensate for being fifteen feet tall.

I am going to focus on one bone in particular: the femur! For those of you that don’t know, the femur is the large bone in your thigh. This bone connects to your pelvis to make your hip. To make sure you understand some terminology going forward, I have provided some illustrations below for you to look at.

 

Now that you understand the different terms I will be using, let’s move on to discussing the bone itself. The main difference between a human femur and a yeti femur is the angle at which it connects to the pelvis. It is this angle that allows us both to walk bipedally, but also has adapted to allow the yeti to have a hunched posture. I have provided both here on a table for you. Take a look and notice the main difference between the two. The human femur is on the left, and a juvenile yeti is on the right.

Image result for human vs chimp femur

Look at the drastic change in angle between the two! The human femur is angular when positioned in the body or sitting on the condyles, while the yeti femur is very straight. This causes their legs to be bowed, causing them to have to lean forward slightly for balance. This entire stance is much easier hunched. You might also have noticed a difference in the femoral head between the two. The yeti’s is remarkably small in comparison to the human’s, meaning their hip joint isn’t as pronounced as ours.

It is also important to note that their vertebral column has also adapted to allow for a hunched stance. Humans have two natural arches in our spine: one coming outward from the body to accommodate for the ribs and the other towards our rear, going towards the body to connect with the pelvis. The second arch in the spine of yetis also comes outward from the body, meaning their spine as a whole is much more concave. This, combined with their bowed legs, causes their posture to hunch. As I discussed above, this came as a trade-off for their height. With extra vertebrae to accommodate this, as well as much longer leg bones, the vertebrae as a line end up bowing outwards from pressure, causing the concave shape.

Well, now that I have most likely bored you, let’s move on to the more interesting aspect of this lesson. In regards to their temperament, they are incredibly ferocious creatures. They are not fond of human interaction and will stay away from us at all costs. Many believe their wariness of humans increased after an incident with some relatives of theirs, which we will discuss in just a few moments. While there have been no reported incidents of yetis killing humans, it has long been suspected that Muggles that go missing in yeti habitats were victims of a yeti attack, simply because they stumbled into their territory and didn’t know better. If you ever plan to visit one, the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures does have a map with each colony’s territory outlined. This should prevent you from wandering into their territory.

Now, the yeti does have a secret relative: the sasquatch. The topic of the sasquatch is somewhat taboo in the wizarding world, especially in the United States, because its existence has been denied by wizards. In 1892, a colony of sasquatch staged a rebellion against the Magical Congress. Now, you might be thinking, how did they do this? You see, this is fairly common amongst chimps. They can come together and have a riot of sorts. In chimps, we see this used to kill other males. This caused the Magical Congress to move their headquarters from Washington to New York. If you would like to read more on the Great Sasquatch Rebellion of 1892, I highly recommend Ortiz O’Flaherty’s Big Foot’s Last Stand. While we don’t have the time to really cover the rebellion now, as it is more historical in nature and that is for History of Magic, it does an excellent job of showing both sides of the story, as well as why the sasquatch ultimately decided a large scale rebellion was necessary.

It was then ultimately decided that the MACUSA headquarters would move to New York, and that the sasquatch would no longer be recognized as a magical species. While it was in part of the rebellion, it was also due to how often they were being sighted by No-Majs, causing problems in following Clause 73. As you should remember, Clause 73 of the International Statute of Secrecy discusses keeping creatures away from No-Majs so they do not discover the wizarding world.

This leads me into the last topic I would like to discuss today: the yeti’s influence in the Muggle world. As we just discussed, their relative is frequently seen by No-Majs. In fact, many individuals believe that the sasquatch, often called bigfoot by No-Majs, is an elusive creature that lives in the Pacific Northwest. It is considered a cryptid creature in the No-Maj world. Yetis are also considered cryptid creatures in the non-magical world. In fact, there have been so many Muggle sightings of yetis in Tibet that there is an International Task Force their to aid in this issue. There are constant breaches of Clause 73 in Tibet, and this is something the Ministry of Magic has been trying to solve in recent years, especially as the field of cryptozoology grows in the Muggle world.

In the Muggle world, yetis are also called abominable snowmen. This term was first coined in 1921 by Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Howard-Bury. This term is often used to refer to a bigfoot in snow regions, such as New York in winter. Many Muggles use abominable snowman and yeti interchangeably, as well as the terms bigfoot and sasquatch for the forest version. Bigfoot has taken hold in the United States as one of the most popular cryptid creatures. There are several research organizations, including the Texas Bigfoot Research Center, which was granted access to state land to place trail cameras over the course of five years in an attempt to gain footage of the best. Such a sad time for the sasquatch: not accepted by the wizarding community and not yet found by the Muggles.

Before finishing the lesson for today, I would like to introduce Professor Dalloway to discuss the lineage of the yeti in relation to humans and ghouls.

Dear students, I am delighted to be here today and marvelled for the invitation, of which I am sincerely thankful, Elizabeth!

For those who attend Ghoul Studies, it will not be a novelty to discover that humans share prehistoric ancestors with a lot of creatures of the present days. So do not be surprised if we end up discovering during this guest lecture that we are closer to yetis than we ever thought!

The modern human belongs to the Hominidae family (which includes great apes and hominids), under the category of hominids, modern humans are classified as part of the Homo genus, which subsequently includes all sorts of different species, some of them still existing and others extinct. For instance, you will easily find that giants, ogres, trolls, ghouls, house-elves, hagsm goblins and yetis are all descendants of Homo species that walked the Earth many centuries ago and with whom humans shared a common ancestor - the Homo heidelbergensis.

I will avoid extensive explanations and direct those interested in studying a bit more about these issues to Ghoul Studies, but believe in me when I say that there are strong bonds between the ghouls’ ancestors - Homo gul akeer - and the creature we now call yeti. The Homo gul akeer, who lived around 200,000 years ago, were once one of the most magically powerful species, as all of their members possessed magical skills. However, after some tragic events, they were doomed to seclusion and eventually became the creature ghoul.

Some scholars agree that somewhere between 12,000 to 9,000 years ago (the same period appointed for the slow and progressively transformation of the Akeer into ghouls), other types of creatures evolved from the crossbreed of ghouls with other species. I know this sounds far-fetched but many signs point in this direction.

For example, when the Akeer were forced into hiding, many found protection in mountainous areas. Actually, the Hindu Kush mountains are pointed out as the cradle of transformation from akeer to ghoul - if you look at a map you will see that Hindu Kush mountains are very close to the Himalayas. But the akeer and ghouls were not the only ones seeking protection in those areas, the giants were too. Well, not giants as we know them today. Let me remind you that giants descended from the Homo ergaster, a Homo species that has been extinct since around 1.4 million years ago. Nevertheless, when the H. ergaster made its way from Africa to Eurasia, it branched into distinct species and one of them was the first giant species - a crossbreed between H. ergaster and early Pongo pygmaeus or colloquially called orangutan. We assume the first species of giants flourished in the Indo-European region because they are often mentioned in Muggles’ mythologies as primeval creatures.

All of this combined shows the presence of the primitive giants and ghouls in the same region, both hiding in mountains to seek refuge from humans. Though a lot of research is still undergoing, first results point to the high probability that yetis were the evolution of some primeval hybrid creature resulting from the crossbreed between primitive giants and an Akeer to ghoul middle-stage creature.

And it is with this surprising theory that I end. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I!

That’s it for today! I hope you enjoyed this highly anticipated lesson. As always, be sure to grab your homework assignments on the way out and don’t forget to thank Professor Dalloway for joining us once again. I do hope some of you will attempt the extra credit essay we have provided; it is rather intriguing! Professor Cattercorn and I will see you next week!

All pictures are found using the Google Images search engine, and belong to their owners.

In your fifth year of Care of Magical Creatures, we will cover fifteen different creatures that are popular in both the wizarding and Muggle worlds. We will be building off of your previous knowledge of these creatures from popular culture, and helping you understand why they are seen in both worlds. Some of these creatures are considered cryptids or mythological in the Muggle world, whereas others have Muggle counterparts. Additionally, a year long that follows these themes will be completed.
Course Prerequisites:
  • COMC-OWL

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