Abkhazia: The story of Zana is that of a wild woman, caught and habituated by people in Abkhazia at the end of the 19th century. She not only lived with people but was the mother of children by human fathers. I had also read that information in Boris Porshnev's book. By that time I was not only acquainted with Porshnev but also helped him in his research. The story of Zana is written up in detail in the above mentioned book by Bayanov. I only want here to emphasize three points.
First, the story of Zana is not simply a fascinating tale about a surprising contact of people with a wild man-like creature. This story is one of a number of episodes remarkable from the point of view of the theory of parallel existence of Homo sapiens and non-sapient hominids, and their crossbreeding throughout the course of history. There are other cases of probable crossbreeding of this kind as, for example, in the Sungir excavation, of twenty-three thousand year antiquity, in central Russia, where in a sapiense burial were found bones with Neandertal features. The Zana case could shed more light on this problem. The point is we have the skull of Zana’s son. Besides, Zana’s descendants live in Abkhazia and DNA analyses of their blood could be of much help in verifying the Zana story. During one of my trips to Abkhazia, I obtained blood for analysis from the daughter of Zana's son - that is a granddaughter of Zana. Unfortunately the result of that analysis is unknown to me because of the ethnic war and conflict that engulfed Abkhazia, which is still not over and prevents our further research in that area.
Second, I dug out an unusual burial of a female near the grave of Zana's son Khwit. The rubber footwear of the buried female had the date of its make - 1880. Khwit was born, according to his documents, in 1886. But considering the fact that personal documents began to be issued in Abkhazia only in the 1930s, on the basis of oral statements, we can suppose that Khwit was born earlier. On the other hand, footwear could have been kept for many years after it was made - such a custom exists in those parts even today. The study of the female's skull showed its Negroid (African) features, whereas Khwit, according to anthropologists, looked very much Australoid. I learned that some Africans lived in Abkhazia in the 19th century, and even found several of their descendants. But all those who had seen Zana insisted that she was not African - her body was covered with hair and she remained wild, despite all attempts to civilize her.
I personally restored the female's skull at the laboratory of plastic reconstruction, headed after Mikhail Gerasimov's death, by anthropologist Galina Lebedeva. She consulted me during the restoration and highly appraised the quality of my work. She also made a drawing of the woman's face, based on her skull, and that portrait clearly shows African features. At the same laboratory, Khwit's skull was examined for the absence or presence of a pathological condition, called acromegalia - and it was found that no pathology was present. Modern methods allow us to determine by analysis of bones whether these two skulls belong to relatives. If yes, then the buried female was the mother of Khwit, i. e. Zana. If not, then the female is clearly not Zana. At present I believe the second version. But for 100% certainty it is necessary to undertake a corresponding analysis. Unfortunately, we have no funds for that and have not been able so far to interest those who have.
Third, the process of excavation was connected with some mysterious phenomena: unexpected strong rain with storm when finishing the excavation; my personal hard illness with unknown diagnosis followed in two-three days after; the worsening of the health of a person with ESP-ability, who visited later the place of the burial, and so on. (That woman was vomiting when being close to Khwit’s grave, though she did not know whose was the grave)
Relict hominids are ancient forms of humans that are believed still to exist in isolated parts of the world. The study of relict hominids is a form of cryptozoology.
Many cultures share similar legends of ape-like beings: the yeti, the yowie, Bigfoot and so forth. Some researchers now believe these are relict hominids.
Relict hominids across the world
Flores Island, Indonesia: Ebu Gogo
Archaeologists recently made an exciting discovery on Flores Island, Indonesia. They unearthed the bones of a skeleton that was first thought to be a child. Closer analysis revealed it was in fact the skeleton of an adult hominid, that stood about one metre tall with long arms and a skull the size of a large grapefruit. This hominid, given the classification Homo floresiensis and nicknamed the Hobbit, was not a one-off mutant. Archaeologists have since discovered the remains of at least six more individuals from the same species.
Interestingly, the people of Flores Island have many detailed legends about little people that they call Ebu Gogo. They are described as being one metre tall, hairy, and prone to murmuring to each other in some form of language. The last evidence of these little people dates back to a volcanic eruption 12,000 years ago. But the myths say they were still alive as recently as 100 years ago. Some researchers have speculated Homo floriensis might still exist, somewhere deep in the unexplored Indonesian jungle.
In the 1880s a strange woman was captured in the western Caucausus region of Abkhazia. Her features were described as both mongoloid and negroid extraction. She was covered from head to foot with reddish-black hair, and was powerfully strong: able to outrun horses and swim in fast-flowing rivers. She could splay her toes widely and move apart her big toes. Villagers called her Zana or Zanya and kept her in a strong enclosure. At first she was like a wild beast but gradually became tamer.
Zana never learnt to speak but she responded to her name and carried out commands given by her master. She could never bear warm temperatures and slept outside in a hole through every season. Zana was impregnated by one or more of the village men and gave birth several times. The first newborns died from exposure when she washed them in cold water. Four later infants survived after villagers took them away from her, and these two sons and daughters grew up to adulthood.
Zana's remains have not yet been found, but the skull of her son Kwit, who died in 1954, was exhumed for analysis in the 1970s. It was found by scientists to have a striking combination of ancient and modern features. Zana's human descendants are scattered across Abkhazia and more research needs to be done on her origins. She has been linked to a relict hominid, an ancestor of modern humans, to a wild-woman from a nomadic tribe, and so on. But if she was a mystery primate who mated successfully with modern humans, then her genetic makeup was close to modern humans.
I've not heard about Zana before, I'll watch this to get up to speed ..Has anyone read Professor Brian Sykes' book Nature of the Beast? He was able to get mitochondrial DNA from the tooth of the son of Zana (putative almasty captured in the 19th century and mother of hybrid children) as well as DNA from Zana's living decendents.It was sub-Saharan African but here's the twist. It’s an ultra-ancient lineage from west Africa that may have left the continent 150,000 years ago and despite being the genus Homo appears to be pre Homo sapien, a genuinely unknown hominin!!!
He might have checked the working before letting his imagination run wild.Subsequently I received a certificate (suitable for framing) that states:
“This is to certify that Thomas R Robinson carries a Y-chromosome which shows him to be of probable direct descent from Genghis Khan, First Emperor of the Mongols.”
The results did come as a surprise and I inquired as to how the DNA of the Mongolians would have ended up in England. Professor Sykes speculated that the Vikings acquired slaves in Central Europe in an area that the Mongolians had conquered (see Jack Weatherford’s excellent book for the range of land Genghis conquered) and that these slaves may have ended up in England. While we will never know, it is an interesting conjecture.
Yes i have indeed - and I posted on this some time ago. It's a great book and a great find, and I'm just amazed that it hasn't received more coverage, and promoted more debate than it has. Even the bigfoot hunting community seemed to be labouring under the delusion that Sykes is a hostile sceptic. They clearly haven't read the final chapters of his book!Has anyone read Professor Brian Sykes' book Nature of the Beast? He was able to get mitochondrial DNA from the tooth of the son of Zana (putative almasty captured in the 19th century and mother of hybrid children) as well as DNA from Zana's living decendents.It was sub-Saharan African but here's the twist. It’s an ultra-ancient lineage from west Africa that may have left the continent 150,000 years ago and despite being the genus Homo appears to be pre Homo sapien, a genuinely unknown hominin!!!
Has Sykes ever released anything from his Zana work besides the book with one page of useless appendix?Brian got back to me e-mail. This is what he said about the current state of play.
"Re. Zana there has been progress of a sort. With a computational geneticist (a rare breed) we have identified and "isolated" the DNA sequences in six of her descendants that were inherited from Zana herself. We are now engaged in the very tricky task of interpreting the comparison of these sequences with a population of modern Africans and others and asking the question - is Zana's DNA significantly different from them. If it were then a case can be made that she is indeed from another ?earlier African diaspora. If not then it looks as if she was a modern African who suffered greatly at the hands of her captors (as indeed is true even if she were an ancient race of human". It has taken a long time to get this far, but I hope we will soon be ready to publish our findings."
Maybe they had writtern it off as folklore. The soviets had a snowman commission in the 1950s to investigate hominins. There is a new one today.There is an unclear relationship between the Soviet Ape-Human interbreeding program and the Zana case. The most obvious thing is that the primate research lab set up for Prof Ivanov's interbreeding project, which would grow to become the most prestigious primate research station in the world, is less than 100 km from the village in which a yeti was supposedly domesticated and interbred with during the 1800s.
Isn't it odd that the mad scientist trying to unravel the relationship between genetics and evolution by interbreeding apes with humans, who was canvassing local women to have ape babies and even advertising for volunteers, didn't hear all the stories about the ape woman who had babies with men, just up the road? And that for 30 years, none of the monkey scientists at the research center heard these rumors either?
Isn't it odd that the Soviet State had a world class primate research center right down the road from the Zana case, but chose to send a historian from Moscow to investigate instead of some of the best primate scientists in the world?
I don't find it all that odd - particularly once you consider the historical contexts for these two distinct Fortean story lines.... Isn't it odd that the mad scientist trying to unravel the relationship between genetics and evolution by interbreeding apes with humans, who was canvassing local women to have ape babies and even advertising for volunteers, didn't hear all the stories about the ape woman who had babies with men, just up the road? And that for 30 years, none of the monkey scientists at the research center heard these rumors either? ...
Here's the relevant except pertaining to Zana ...on the same subject here is an atricle about Secret Soviet Investigations that have turned up reports of human-like creatures who have lived for years in Russian Villages and even born human children. ...
An archived 2002 version of this webpage can be accessed at the Wayback Machine:
According the Dr. Boris Porshnev, a famous historian of the Soviet Union and scholar of wide learning, people from time to time have even managed to catch the yeti and have brought them into inhabited communities but most of them soon died.
There are about ten such cases on record: in 1912, 1914, 1937, 1941 and 1954, all in mountainous regions of Russia or China. Perhaps the strangest of these stories is the tale of Zana, which took place in the last century. Zana was a female yeti who had been caught and tamed and who lived and died within the memory of a number of people still alive today. She was buried in the village of Tkhina in the Ochamchir region. Among present inhabitants of that district, more than ten were at the funeral, and more than 100 are alive who knew Zana over a long period.
At first she was lodged in a strong enclosure and she acted like a wild beast. No one ventured to give her food - it was thrown at her. She dug herself a hole in the ground and slept in it and for the three years she lived in this wild state. Then gradually she became tamer and was moved to a fenced enclosure under an awning near the house, tethered at first but later left loose to wander about. She never went far from the place where she received her food and she could not endure warm rooms. Her skin was black or dark brown and her body was covered with reddish-black hair. The shiny black hair on her head was tousled and thick. She lived for many years without showing changed - no gray hair and no falling teeth. Her teeth were enormous and she could crack anything with them. She could outrun a horse and swam the wild Movki River even when it rose in violent high tide. To gorge herself with grapes in the vineyards, she would pull down a whole vine growing around a tree. She loved wine and was allowed her fill after which she would sleep for hours in a swoon-like state.
Zana became the mother of human children. This is the fantastic side of her history and important according to those studying the science of genetics. Zana was pregnant several times by various men and gave birth without assistance but always carried the newborn child to wash it in the cold river. The half-breed infants unable to survive this chilly "baptism," died. Later when Zana gave birth, the villagers took the newborn away from her to rear themselves. Four times this happened and the children - two sons and two daughters - could talk and possessed reason. It is true they had some strange physical and mental features but they were capable of engaging in work and social life.