Bigfoot Encounters
Meeting the Neanderthal Man?

By Serhiy Davidich, Russia

In the vicinity of the Gissar Ridge in the Pamirs-Altal mountain-mass (Tajikistan) an expedition from Kiev searches for a representative of a branch of man's ancestors, which is likely to have survived until the present day in some remote parts of the planet.

Footprints On The Scree

This story started in the Pamirs. In the summer of 1974, a mountaineer from Kiev, Igor Tatsi discovered half-meter long footprints on the scree. Before this he had heard from the locals about some "Wild" people who allegedly inhabited the area.

The giant's footprints, found on the territory of the mountaineers' camp, proved that these stories were not groundless. The enthusiasts became possessed with the idea of unraveling the mystery of the 20th century. Huge footprints had been found in the Himalayas and then in the Pamirs (USSR) as far back as the end of the 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s. When they were first discovered it was in the snow, hence the creature became known as the "snowman."

Several national and international expeditions have been organized since then, but they have not been lucky in meeting the "snowman." However, during one of the expeditions a scalp and mummified hands of an anthropoid creature were found in the Pangbosh and Khimjung (Nepal) monasteries. Many scientists believed that these were only fakes.

However, this point of view had its opponents. Several well-known anatomists and zoologists from Japan, the USSR and the USA who investigated the finds by X-raying arrived unanimously at the conclusion that about 300 - 400 years ago there were creatures living on Earth that looked like Neanderthal man. But this opinion was met with a lot of skepticism.

Enthusiasts Carry Out Research

The milling-machine operator of the Bolshevik Plant in Kiev, a mountaineer with 20 years' experience, Igor Tatsl, had difficulty in finding people who would share his views. There were very few who believed that the undertaking would be a success. This is why he began his research at the libraries where he read everything he could find on the subject. He was interested not only in the sensational reports by foreign news agencies about unusual meetings with the wild giant in various parts of the planet, but he also spent a lot of time reading thick volumes on history, zoology, and anthropology. He was convinced there was a possibility of meeting the hominoid and he managed to persuade others of his belief.

The first expeditions were not numerous and achieved little success. During the long winter evenings the enthusiasts worked out their methods of search and mastered every detail of the future expedition. The summer months were spent in the mountains where the search was carried out. As the expedition achieved success its membership grew. The trade-union committee of the Bolshevik Plant helped to purchase knapsacks, tents, sleeping bags and other equipment including night viewing devices and portable transmitters. The Institute of Criminalistics said it would process the data obtained by the expedition. The Darwin Museum in Moscow also began to render scientific assistance to the expedition. So, what makes these people leave their comfortable apartments and spend their summer vacations high in the mountains carrying out a search in foul weather conditions? Here are the opinions of the members of one of the research groups from Kiev.

Heorhiy Kirilyuk, road engineer, 38: "What if it exists?" Svitlana Zaika, land surveyor, 32: "I want to prove my point of view." Victor Hlotov, Lawyer, 32: "Our research enriches science." Victor Pavlovsky, physician, 30: "How could the expedition manage without a doctor?" Vasil Nepipenko, driver, 30: "I am learning a lot about the past and present of the Earth."

As you see, the enthusiasts carry out their search not only for some romantic ideal but are infatuated with the idea of contributing to science.

What have they achieved so far? The stories by the locals, who happened to meet the hominoid, have been recorded and systematized. Footprints have been found and casts taken. Visual contacts between the expedition members and the hominoid have also taken place. The area where this mysterious creature is thought to live and the season of its migration have been determined (this being the months of July and August when the wild fruits and berries are ripe).

The coming season brings new hopes and new troubles. There are plans to make observations in the twilight using night viewing devices while the day will be used for looking for the giant's traces on the slopes of the nearby mountain ravines. Control strips of land will be further loosened and leveled so that the creature will be able to leave its footprints on the surface. (Unfortunately, there are few places suitable for this as the surface is very rocky.) The expedition is hoping to take pictures of the hominoid.

Is It Really Possible?

"Man originated from an ape." These words by the great scientist once shook people's consciousness. However, Charles Darwin did not consider that Homo sapiens originated directly from some of the fossil ape species. For more than half a century now, researchers have been looking for the "missing link" in man's evolution.

It appears that the spreading genealogical tree had branches that gave no shoots. Neanderthal man represented one such branch. It is hard to get used to the thought that this creature, ousted thousands of years ago by its more developed contemporaries to regions where living conditions were not very suitable (mountains, watersheds) has managed to survive 'til today.

For example, the USSR State Prizewinner, professor Boris Porshnev, D. Sc. (Phil.) who forwarded the "Neanderthal man hypothesis" for the hominoid's origin, was convinced that our ancient ancestors could have survived in some parts of the planet. But is it really possible?

Unfortunately, we still do not know our planet well. There are many "white spots" on it. It was only in 1898 that European scientists learned about the world's largest carnivorous bear, although the hunters of Kamchatka, Manchuria and Sakhalin had long known about its existence.

© Pursuit Magazine, Fourth Quarter 1986, p.166

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