Russian Almas, the Bigfoot, and DNA Results

Zana03This complicated story began over 150 years ago in the Caucasus mountains of Mongolia. Locals claimed an Almasty (female version of Almas) was living wild in the woods. She was captured, treated brutally, but after some years, she became somewhat “domesticated”.  They named her Zana.

I hate this story because it’s nothing but a story of abuse. I don’t care what her lineage may or may not have been, it’s a sick and sordid story, in my opinion.

She had four children by at least a couple different Russian fathers, and the children were raised with human families and lived normal lives. In fact, the skull of one of her sons plays into the next chapter of this story.

I was also surprised to see Professor Bryan Sykes (who is considered to be an expert geneticist in the UK) enter the fray. (Remember him from the Bigfoot DNA “study”? And the recent Yeti DNA study? See links below:)

Zana01What was Zana Like?

Zana didn’t look very human, in fact she very much looked like another type of animal. From descriptions I’ve read, she sounds like a Bigfoot.  Some accounts describe her as, “very big, strong, her whole body covered with hair.”

In an essay by Rob Crowe, he describes her as, “[having] features of both Mongoloid and Negroid extraction, and her whole body was very tall with dark or gray skin, and reddish hair that covered her body like a mass of felt, while on the head it was described as being tousled and a thick shiny black. The thick reddish-black hair then ran down the middle of her back like an animal mane.

She was said to be six and a half feet tall, and had huge red eyes. Zana was also broad and had huge buttocks and pendulous breasts,  and was quite muscular and could splay her toes wide. Her hideously broad face with high cheek bones and ape-like nostrils turned forward was pure animal though. The muzzle-like jaws had strong sharp teeth … strong enough to crack bones or nuts with. Also, she was quite athletic, Zana could outrun the swiftest horses, or swim the waters of the swiftest river in flood stage at high tide, and do it all the year around. The nearby wild Mouki River was apparently an easy swim with her powerful arms and legs.”

Rob’s description was based on those collected by zoologist Professor Alexander Mashdovtsev and Boris Porshnev. The two men had interviewed people throughout the area where Zana “lived”, people who remembered her and could provide good descriptions of her.

If that doesn’t sound like an animal of some sort, I don’t know what does. However, the fact that she produced living children who were then later able to reproduce in adulthood means she had to be human. Of some sort.


Theories range from Zana being a leftover Neanderthal, to possibly a homo erectus leftover in the wilds of Russia (center figure in photo above), to a possibly more ancient species of humanoid that migrated out of Africa into the Mongolian and surrounding areas.  Frankly, it sounds to me like people are just guessing.

This is where Professor Sykes comes in to provide the latest twist.  He appeared in a recent television program in the UK on the topic of the “Russian Bigfoot”.

DNA Results

Professor Sykes tested the DNA from several of Zana’s descendants. In addition, there is a skull from her son Khwit that has been analyzed in the past. The professor claims he obtained viable DNA from a tooth in that skull.

The results show that Zana was 100% Sub-Saharan African. Professor Sykes speculated, “The most obvious solution that springs to mind is that Zana or her ancestors were brought from Africa to Abkhazia as slaves, when it was part of the slave trading Ottoman Empire, to work as servants or laborers. While the Russians ended slavery when they took over the region in the late 1850s, some Africans remained behind. Was Zana one of them, who was living wild in the forest when she was captured?”

ZanaKhwitThe main problem with this explanation is that Zana, and even her son Khwit (see photo to the right), had some extraordinary physical features. The fact that Zana was so large for a woman, so strong, didn’t wear clothes, didn’t seem to feel the cold (she shunned indoor quarters), had oddly arranged facial features – didn’t quite add up. Add to that the fact that her son had deviations in his skull that were inconsistent with modern human skeletal structure.

So Sykes has posed this theory: Perhaps Zana could be a descendant of a group of people who migrated from Africa into the Mongolian region as long as tens of thousands of years ago.  This seems a little far-fetched, especially as I don’t see any corroboration by archaeologists and anthropologists that this might have happened.

A guest on Sykes’ show, Dr. Igor Burtsev, an Almasty “hunter,” is the man who exhumed Khwit’s skull and studied it. When he showed it to no less than six other anthropologists they identified “a mix of ‘primitive’ and ‘progressive’ (modern) features in the skull.”

So what does that mean? That Syke’s theory about the ancient migration may hold water.  Mercifully he admits that he needs to do a lot more research, so this is just a working premise.

Whoever or whatever this poor woman was, I’m still disgusted by how she was treated.

Zana04Almasty – Truth or Fiction

I’m more inclined to believe in Bigfoot and the Yeti in Russia and beyond, than I am the Almasty (artist’s rendering to the left). What people are calling the Almas/Almasty may actually be an ancient hominid on the road to homo sapiens. If that is true, I would still consider her an animal because of how she behaved and lived. Remember we share an incredible amount of DNA with chimpanzees – reports range from 96% to 98.5% of our DNA is the same. And they are definitely animals.

So we’ll see if science can prove once and for all that these potential human ancestors ever existed. If that time comes, then we can safely believe in them. Until then, I’m doubtful.

What do you think? Are there any scientists out there with an opinion on this research?



UPDATE: If you’re interested in what the Almasty might possibly be, see this article. I did more research since writing this article and found some fascinating clues as to their identity:




  1. Sounds like an ancient species who just lived her life like her forbearers until her capture. I’m sure she is not the only one out there!

  2. What people are calling the Almas/Almasty may actually be an ancient hominid on the road to homo sapiens.

    Forgive me for being pedantic – but Evolution is not a road. It knows neither beginning nor end, it has no.. aim. It’s merely the description of a process.

    Almas, if they really exist, are not adapted for modern society, they’re instead hunter-gatherers in the original sense of the word and ones who never developed language or who never develop it because of living in a solitary manner.

  3. I have read a few of these articles and noticed that no one blinks an eye about the “slave” hypothesis. At least this article acknowledgesays that her ancestors could have been the slaves. People need to think about this. DNA says “Sub-Saharan”, how cold does it get???????? Zanaflex lived outside, by choice and swam in the freezing river all year……Zana’so people may have been sub-Saharan, but they had to come much earlier than the Ottomans…….

    • That’s a good point, Steve. Maybe Zana’s ancestors lived there long enough to have time to adapt to the much different temperatures and weather.

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