Bigfoot Encounters

"Atlas of the Snowmen"
by Vadim Yu. Makarov
The Moscow publishing house "Company Sputnik+" 2002, 311 pp.,
ISBN 5-93406-237-9 (in Russian)
Book Review by Michael Trachtengerts, Ph.D., Moscow

This book is written by the active field researcher who from year to year took part in expeditions and is familiar with the problem from within. The main task of the author who for some last years is the Chairman of the Russian Society of cryptozoologists - to inform the interested public on the new information concerning to relict hominoids, which has appeared after 1960-th years, when the main works by B.F.Porshnev were issued.

Despite of obvious difficulties in selection of an authentic material from various sources, Makarov achived this task, having resulted in the book with information collected from the numerous domestic and foreign publications, letters of the encounters with hominoids, proceedings of information materials prepared in the Society, results of numerous expeditions. The main part of the information was not known till now outside a narrow circle of the researchers and is published for the first time. The interesting episodes from another countries are given also. The book is formed by a geographical principle, so the word "Atlas" used in the title. Here V.Yu.Makarov departs from B.Porshnev conception ("all relic hominoids are variants of one speaces - Neanderthal and the distinctions between them are caused by a variety of living conditions") and entroduces inhabitance areas ("the reigns") for various types of the creatures, using for them the local names.

The book includes 8 chapters and the most informative are "Contemporary areal of relic hominoids (records of eyewitnesses)" and "Expeditions". The reviews of areals begin with the European parts of the former USSR. There are evidences from populated places such as the vicinity of Moscow and Ukraine. Obviously, in such places hominoids do not linger over and can not be objects of prolonged investigations. The others are more interesting for the researchers as places permanently used by homonoids. V.Makarov tells in detail about Caucasus, where the most numerous evidences were received (the main collections by J.-M.Kofmann). Only the small part of the received there data could be included in the book. The places of steady presence of hominoids also are in north of Europe, where the natural conditions strongly complicate observations. In the Asian part of the country many meetings occured in the mountains of Tadjikistan.

These sections of the book are closely connected to the description of expeditions and present their results. Many cryptozoological expeditions were oranized and led in Tadjikistan by the author. The next interesting area is in the north of Western Siberia (the data materials gathered by V.M.Pushkarev). Maps and diagrams in the book specify places of meetings with hominoids practically at all territory of the country.

The situations in other countries and continents are described superficially to some extent. There are few items for every geographical zone of the Earth. Some literature sources that describe
"wild" men in the Western Europe in the Middle Ages are also cited.

The section of expeditions is the most interesting. After a brief descriptions of well-known first travels to Himalayas V.Makarov came to expeditions of the Russian researchers. The materials about the Central Asian expeditions of the Society contain the maps, figures and descriptions with details usually accepted in scientific reports. V.Makarov for the first time gathered and presented systematically chronology of field researches by Russian cryptozoologists in the impressive table. This section gives appropriate view on large volume of the investigations which have been carried out by the enthusiasts in 80-90-th years without state's or sponsor's support. In other sections of the book the author gave the information on morphology, comparative ethology and ecology of hominoids. He said also how hominoids presented in historical literature and folklore (following to D.Bayanov). The recommendations for field work and technique of step fixing are interesting for the beginners.

Some statements of the author are rather disputable. For example, it is difficult to agree that in Fig. 84 a child of hominoid is represented, as well as with a hypothesis about a route of migration of a creature in Fig. 19.

Unfortunately, the low technical quality of the edition contrasts with its content. Photos were printed very defectively. There are a lot of typing errors in the book.

But in spite of these lacks the book will be interesting to anyone, who wish to know about researches of relic hominoids, first of all in Russia.

Michael Trachtengerts, Ph.D., Moscow

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