Zana The Wild Woman

MrRING

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Another insteresting article here:

http://alamas.ru/eng/publicat/Burtsev.htm

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)
 

Kondoru

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How official is all this to go rooting round in graves?
 

Dessie32

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The more I read about Zana the more I think the story has been embolished over the years. We are are probably talking about a deformed homo sapien and the local population got confused.
 

Dessie32

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Some reports of Zana (and other almas) is that she was tall. Neanderthal & other primitive people were not tall (judging by their skeletons). They also never had Negroid features (again judging by their skeletons). Neanderthals were stockily built so may have been strong. But they were not built for speed; so how come some almas reports have them out running horses? I read recently (lost the link) that she was not captured local to the village where she stayed.
 

MrRING

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According to WIKI, Zana is being linked in as a relict hominid.

This is the artilcle as it exists now:
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.

Abkhazia: Zana
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.
 

TVgeek

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Sorry to dredge this ol' thread up --
but is this really the skull of Zana?!?

http://www.cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-news/khwit-dna/

If they're doing DNA analysis, surely the findings can put
the existence/legend of Almasty to bed once and for all.

If true, how is this not big news?

TVgeek
 

stu neville

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I imagine it's because we've had "great discoveries" trumpeted time and again, only to then fizzle out. Think how many times expeditions have returned with anomalous hair or faeces or bones, announced they were highly significant and they were going to have them tested at some prestige institution, and then... nothing is ever heard of the matter again.

Could be they're biding their time.

Must admit, Khwit looks an awful lot like Shane McGowan. I wonder if perhaps they're related?
 

Xanatico

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And one of the sources for the skull thing is Pravda, not a newspaper I would trust any further than I can throw an elephant.
 

lordmongrove

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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!!!
 

Swifty

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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!!!
I've not heard about Zana before, I'll watch this to get up to speed ..

 

PeteByrdie

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Interesting! That's not how it was portrayed in the documentary I saw a while back. I want to know more.
 

Gizmos Mama

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What this implies is pretty amazing!! I just watched a program about Zana, and they mentioned the astounding results of the DNA. The theory put forward was that she may have been part of a (possible) existing remnant population of ancient linage that migrated to that area 100,000's years ago. And that have been living quietly in the deep forests of Russia to this day.

(Well, at least up until the day the found Zana, anyway!)

So cool!
 

oldrover

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Let's not jump the gun. Sykes is not an uncontroversial figure. His work hasn't proved infallible in the past, his recent bear DNA errors for example. Which he acknowledges.

Also, as far I'm aware, his study of the Abkhazia samples has not yet been published or peer reviewed. Although from what I've read he does plan to do so.

I'm not saying he's wrong, I wouldn't have the faintest idea how to begin to understand the work he does, but I do understand the importance of the peer review system. So lets see what the wider scientific community makes of his evidence.
 

Yithian

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Surely his greatest hit was falsely claiming that a Floridian accountant was the direct descendant of Ghengis Khan.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/21/science/21genghis.html?_r=2&

We all know that that honour falls to Mr L. Prosser.

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.

https://web.archive.org/web/2006121...enghis-khan-or-not--that-is-the-question.aspx
He might have checked the working before letting his imagination run wild.
 
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Xanatic*

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Did he also check the timeline? The vikings predate Genghis Khan.
 

Zeke Newbold

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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!!!
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!
 

oldrover

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Thing is, Sykes falls between two stools in all of this.

As far as the bigfoot mob are concerned he's entering their turf from a superior position, and can, apparently, say yay or nay about their 'thing'. He hasn't as far as I'm aware, said anything that supports any evidence for bigfoot.

And realistically, anyone with a vested interest in bigfoot, must realise that they have nothing to gain by showing their hand. It only works on anecdote, and 'yeah but what if'. Sykes obviously isn't going to play that game.

At the same time, in mainstream science, his position is less than watertight. Some of his results have failed to stand up to peer review. There are questions hanging over his methodology, and he's had to retract some of the claims he made regarding his affiliations on this paper.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4100498/

Specifically that he invented an institute that didn't exist.

The paper gave Skyke’s affiliation as the Institute of Human Genetics at Wolfson College, Oxford. Sykes is a fellow of Wolfson but he admitted the institute was mythical. “The journal required some sort of additional address in the college and, hey presto, I became an institute!”

http://retractionwatch.com/2015/04/...doesnt-exist-the-authors-institution-that-is/

Further, the work he carried on the Abkhazia samples, has not, as yet, been formally published. Nor has it yet been peer reviewed. At least no results seem to be publicly available.

He may have published his conclusions in a book, but until he makes the material he used to arrive at them available for scrutiny, it's all in limbo.
 

lordmongrove

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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."
 

Dunbaraj

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It's funny how fast the Bigfooter magnifying glass burns off pieces of these academics. Good Sykes oversight ^
 

Razumov

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2018_04_29_21.25.58.jpg View attachment 11004
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."
Has Sykes ever released anything from his Zana work besides the book with one page of useless appendix?

View attachment 11004
 
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Razumov

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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?
 

lordmongrove

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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?
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.
 

EnolaGaia

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... 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? ...
I don't find it all that odd - particularly once you consider the historical contexts for these two distinct Fortean story lines.

First, there's the issue of timeframe. The commonly stated year for Zana's death was 1890. As far as I can tell, Ivanov wasn't anywhere near Abkhazia until the mid to late 1920's. This implies a span of circa 35 years during which the Zana legend could fade, even if it had been well known throughout the Abkhazia region.

Furthermore, this 35-year span was very tumultuous (a world war; a revolution; civil war; and imposition of a new Soviet system), so there were plenty of other news stories, changes, and other disruptions to obscure a particular old local tale.

There is also the matter of social / cultural differences. Ivanov was Russian and built his career in Russia, where he spoke Russian. Even during the time he was working in Sokhumi his formal affiliations remained with the institutes / centers in Moscow where he'd previously worked.

Zana's village (T'khina) was in the current Abkhazia (then Georgia), where another language was native, if not dominant. I'm not sure whether Georgian or Abkhaz was the primary language in T'khina.

As far as I can see, Ivanov's relocation to Sokhumi was motivated by the warm climate there - a climate conducive to maintaining monkeys and / or apes in captivity.

I find it easy to believe Ivanov was in a relatively 'foreign' environment completely engrossed in something very important to him professionally, and he spent little time interacting with locals or exploring local folklore / history.
 

EnolaGaia

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There's yet another issue ... Even if Ivanov had been aware of the Zana story, would he have considered it all that relevant to his work?

Ivanov's specialty was artificial insemination and the hybridization of distinct species. The Zana story (at least as it's recounted nowadays) consistently refers to Zana as an aberrant 'woman' rather than a woman-like 'ape'.

Ivanov's mandate was to research hybridization of humans and apes, not regular humans and strange humans. I suspect that if he'd heard the Zana story he might well have considered it 'out of scope' with respect to his humanzee (etc.) project.

Even if Ivanov knew of Zana and considered her or her descendants as possible research interests, it would have undermined the importance of the procedure he invented and relied upon - i.e., artificial insemination. If Zana was capable of natural mating with a human to produce what were essentially 'normal' human offspring, there'd be no critical need to employ the artificial insemination upon which his reputation was built.

In other words, accepting Zana as a separate species would have implied a controlled breeding program (as opposed to Ivanov's artificial insemination approach) was all that was needed.

Finally, there's always the possibility that everyone knew the Zana tale, but didn't consider her ascribed characteristics (e.g., strength) to be 'superhuman' enough to represent the sort of super-soldiers they'd hoped to create.
 

EnolaGaia

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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:


https://web.archive.org/web/20021003052316/http://www.n2.net/prey/bigfoot/articles/argosy71.htm
Here's the relevant except pertaining to Zana ...

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.
 

Razumov

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While there are many wild rumors and such about Ivanov's experiments, I have restricted my investigations to what has been verified by historians:

Beyond species: Il'ya Ivanov and his experiments on cross-breeding humans and anthropoid apes.

The possibility of crossing humans with other anthropoid species has been discussed in fiction as well as in scientific literature during the twentieth century. Professor Il'ya Ivanov's attempt to achieve this was critical for the beginning of organized primate research in the Soviet Union, and remains one of the most interesting and controversial experiments that was ever done on non-human primates. The possibility of removing the boundary that separates humans from other animal species, apes in particular, is loaded with important political meaning and violates cultural and ethical taboos. The history of Ivanov's scientific experiment thus helps to reveal some of the twentieth-century's important cultural conventions and hidden assumptions about human nature, species, and social hierarchy.


Beyond eugenics: the forgotten scandal of hybridizing humans and apes.

This paper examines the available evidence on one of the most radical ideas in the history of eugenics and utopianism. In the mid-1920s, the zoology professor Ilia Ivanov submitted to the Soviet government a project for hybridizing humans and apes by means of artificial insemination. He received substantial financing and organized expeditions to Africa to catch apes for his experiments. His project caused an international sensation. The American Association for the Advancement of Atheism announced its fund-raising campaign to support Ivanov's project but gave it a scandalously racist interpretation. Ivanov's own motivation remained unclear, as did the motivation of those in the Bolshevik government who supported Ivanov until his arrest in 1930. This paper discusses three hypothetical reasons for Ivanov's adventure: first, hybridization between humans and apes, should it be successful, would support the atheist propaganda of the Bolsheviks; second, regardless of the success of hybridization, Ivanov would catch and bring to Russia apes, which were necessary for the rejuvenation programs that were fashionable among the Bolshevik elite; and third, hybridization, should it be successful, would pave the way to the New Socialist Man whose 'construction by scientific means' was the official purpose of the Bolsheviks.

Ivanov's ideas were arguably important for the American proponent of reform eugenics, Herman Muller, and for the Soviet anthropologist Boris Porshnev.

(Both above are on libgen)


Stalin and the Scientists: A History of Triumph and Tragedy, 1905–1953

The Wellborn Science: Eugenics in Germany, France, Brazil, and Russia




 
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