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Almas
Creature
Grouping Cryptid
Sub grouping Homin, Hominid
Data
Country Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan,
Habitat Mountainous

The Almas, Mongolian for "wild man," is a purported hominid cryptozoological species reputed to inhabit the Caucasus and Pamir Mountains of central Asia, and the Altai Mountains of southern Mongolia.[1] The creature is not currently recognized or cataloged by science. Furthermore, scientists generally reject the possibility that such mega-fauna cryptids exist, because of the improbably large numbers necessary to maintain a breeding population,[2] and because climate and food supply issues make their survival in reported habitats unlikely.[3]

Contents

Description

Almas is a singular word in Mongolian. Variants of the word, including 'almasty', occur in several Central Asian and Caucasian languages.[4] As is typical of similar legendary creatures throughout Central Asia, Russia, and the Caucasus, the Almas is generally considered to be more akin to "wild people" in appearance and habits than to apes (in contrast to the Yeti of the Himalayas).

Almases are typically described as human-like bipedal animals, between five and six and a half feet tall, their bodies covered with reddish-brown hair, with anthropomorphic facial features including a pronounced browridge, flat nose, and a weak chin.[5] Many cryptozoologists believe there is a similarity between these descriptions and modern reconstructions of how Neanderthals might have appeared.[6]

Evidence

Speculation that Almases may be something other than legendary creatures is based on purported eyewitness accounts, alleged footprint finds, and interpretations of long-standing native traditions that have been anthropologically collected.[7]

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Folk tales

Almases appear in the legends of local people, who tell stories of sightings and human-Almas interactions dating back several hundred years.

Drawings which some have interpreted as Almases also appear in a Tibetan medicinal book. British anthropologist Myra Shackley noted that "The book contains thousands of illustrations of various classes of animals (reptiles, mammals and amphibia), but not one single mythological animal such as are known from similar medieval European books. All the creatures are living and observable today." (1983, p. 98)

Famous sightings

Sightings recorded in writing go back as far back as the 15th century.

In 1430, Hans Schiltberger recorded his personal observation of these creatures in the journal of his trip to Mongolia as a prisoner of the Mongol Khan. Schiltberger also recorded one of the first European sightings of Przewalski horses. (Manuscript in the Munich Municipal Library, Sign. 1603, Bl. 210)(Shackley, 94). He noted that Almasty are part of the Mongolian and Tibetan apothecary's materia medica, along with thousands of other animals and plants that live today.[8]

British anthropologist Myra Shackley in Still Living? describes Ivan Ivlov's 1963 observation of a family group of Almas. Ivlov, a pediatrician, decided to interview some of the Mongolian children who were his patients, and discovered that many of them had also seen Almases. It seems that neither the Mongol children nor the young Almas were afraid of each other. Ivlov's driver also claimed to have seen them (Shackley, 91).

Explanations

Myra Shackley and Bernard Heuvelmans have speculated that the Almases are a relict population of Neanderthals, while Loren Coleman suggests surviving specimens of Homo erectus.[5] Others insist they are related to the Yeti of the Himalayas, being closer to apes than to humans. Another explanation is that human-like cryptids are humans with congenital disorders and/or mental retardation and ejected from society.

Another explanation is that they are purely mythological creatures, since no hard evidence (skeletons, specimens, etc.) has been found to date.

See also

References

  1. ^ Living Ape-Men: The Almas of Central Asia
  2. ^ Bigfoot hunting
  3. ^ Sjögren, Bengt, Berömda vidunder, Settern, 1980, ISBN 91-7586-023-6 (Swedish)
  4. ^ Michael Heaney, "Who were the Arismaspeans", web version with minor additions reproduced from Folklore, volume 104 (1993), pp. 53-66
  5. ^ a b Newton, Michael (2005). "Almas/Almasti". Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology: A Global Guide. McFarland & Company, Inc.. pp. 19. ISBN 0-7864-2036-7.  
  6. ^ Myra Shackley, Antiquity, 56, 31 (1982)
  7. ^ Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe (1999). The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates. New York: HarperCollins.  
  8. ^ The Almas - cryptozoo
Notes

External links



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