Showing posts with label Kemerovo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kemerovo. Show all posts

Friday, November 2, 2012

Professor Valentin Sapunov Doubles Down on Yeti Hair DNA and Asserts 200 Yetis in Kemerovo

Professor Valentin Sapunov Accused of Lying
"Let me make it clear - Sapunov is blatantly lying." --Oleg Pugachev, Director of the Zoological Institute of Russian Academy of Science

Six hours ago The Sun posted a report interviewing both Professor Valentin Sapunov, who claimed definitive DNA evidence of a Yeti this week and Oleg Pugachev, Director of the Zoological Institute of Russian Academy of Science.

Sapunov, pictured above, seems to stand by the DNA results he claimed for the Yeti fur, while the Pugachev, director of one of the labs that did the testing says they were not even able to extract any genetic material.

Click the following link to read our previous coverage of the Kemerovo Yeti.

Read the full text from The Sun Below

Hundreds of yetis live in Siberia, claims boffin

A SCIENTIST has put his Bigfoot in it after claiming that hundreds of yetis live in a large area of southern Siberia.

Controversial professor Valentin Sapunov has infuriated academics after he said DNA checks on hair samples from a remote cave showed it belong to a mystery human-like mammal.

Now he has gone further by asserting a population of 200 Yetis are alive and well in the forested Kemerovo, Khakassia and Altai regions of Siberia.

Professor Sapunov said there have been no confirmed sightings of yetis because the animals have an acute sense of danger.

A population of 200 would allow them to successfully reproduce, said the academic from the Russian State Hydro-meteorological University.

But other Russian experts have slammed Sapunov’s theories.

Oleg Pugachev, Director of the Zoological Institute of Russian Academy of Science, said: “Let me make it clear - Sapunov is blatantly lying.

“He came with some bits of hair to the Institute, and spent a lot of time in my office complaining that official science wants nothing to do with it and no-one wants to test them.

“He asked me to help. I took a pity on him and ordered our DNA specialists to carry out a test.

“They did not manage to extract any genealogical material because there were no hair bulbs.

“The structure of the hair showed that they could have belonged to a goat, and a bear, and to other animals.

“That’s the end of it. What Snowman is he talking about?”

Sapunov hit back saying there is more evidence of the Yeti than for many officially documented species, some of which are reported to exist on the basis of a single bone.

Src: The Sun

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Russia Announces DNA Test Results of Kemerovo "Yeti Hair"

A sketch of what a Yeti might look like src:MailOnline

"The Yeti's DNA is evidently less than one per cent different to that of a human." --Siberian Times

Today the Daily Mail published the headline "Sasquatch in Siberia? Hair found in Russian cave 'belonged to unknown mammal closely related to man'"

A bear, a dog, a Yeti or an old woman's hair - test conclude it is a mammal
closely related to a human? Picture: The Siberian TImes

Yeti news from Russia usually upticks this time of year, culminating to its highest peak towards Western Siberia's Yeti Day celebrated on November 11th.

You can read our post earlier this month about the Yeti hair mentioned in today's article. We also have a huge collection of posts regarding Yeti's in the Kemerovo region.

You can read the Daily Mail article below, as well as watch the accompanying video.

Astonishing claims were made in Russia today that DNA tests on suspected 'Yeti hair' reveals the existence of 'an unknown mammal closely related to man'.
The 'tests' were conducted on samples of hair found in a Siberian cave during an international expedition last year.

'We had ten samples of hair to study, and have concluded that they belong to mammal, but not a human,' said Professor Valentin Sapunov, of the Russian State Hydrometeorological Institute.

Nor did the hair belong to any known animal from the region such as a bear, wolf, or goat, he claimed.

Analysis was conducted in the Russia and US and 'agreed the hair came from a human-like creature which is not a Homo sapien yet is more closely related to man than a monkey', said the Siberian Times, citing claims made on a regional government website in Russia in the area where the hair samples were allegedly found.

It stated that long-awaited scientific tests were conducted on their hair at two institutions in Russia and one in Idaho in the US.

'All three world level universities have finished DNA analysis of the hair and said that the hair belongs to a creature which is closer by its biological parameters to Homo sapiens than a monkey. The Yeti's DNA is evidently less than one per cent different to that of a human.'
The tests were undertaken on hair found one year ago in the Azasskaya Cave in the Mourt Shoriya area of Kemerovo region in Siberia, it was alleged.

The 2011 expedition to  the remote cave complex in Kemerovo when the alleged Yeti hair was found was led by Dr Igor Birtsev, seen as Russia's leading advocate of the existence of the abominable snowman.

He last night questioned the conclusions saying he was seeking more information about the alleged tests.

The Siberian Times said only 'scant' details were made available of the 'DNA findings'.

Sapunov claimed that the prestigious Zoological Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences was involved in the tests.

Yeti 'sightings' have been reported for centuries in most continents but the creature has evaded capture and no remains have ever been discovered.

Several 'sightings' of yetis have been made recently according to a Russian official and fishermen in Siberia.

'We shouted to them - do you need help?,' said fisherman Vitaly Vershinin.

'They just rushed away, all in fur, walking on two legs, making their way through the bushes and with two other limbs, straight up the hill.'

He continued: 'What did we think? It could not be bears, as the bear walks on all-fours, and they ran on two.... so then they were gone.'

Russia's leading researcher on yetis, Igor Burtsev claims around 30 of the 'abominable snowmen' live in the Kemerovo region, where these sightings were.

SRC: Daily Mail

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Yeti Expedition to Cover New Ground North of Kemerovo

Igor Burtsev in Kemerovo 2011

Like clockwork, every Fall the Russian newspapers start to cover Kemerovo Yeti sightings. Stories of sightings  expeditions, and government officials culminate to Yeti Day celebrated on November 11th.

We don't say this to diminish the great research happening in the region, we just know to expect to hear about it around this time of year. In September 2010 Itar-Tash mentioned four Yeti expeditions. In November of same year RIA Novosti metioned the Yeti caves of  Mount Shoriya. In October 2011 they invited Ron Morehead and Dr Jeff Meldrum to Kemerovo Siberia Yeti Expedition.

This October is no different. The Siberian Times has an article titled, "Three separate 'sightings of yetis' in Siberia ahead of new expedition to find the 'abominable snowman'

You can read it below.

By The Siberian Times reporter
24 September 2012
Yetis have been 'sighted' recently in three different remote areas in Kemerovo region, according to local reports.

A bear, a dog, a Yeti or an old woman's hair - will there finally be a DNA test of last year's finding in Azasskaya Cave? Picture: The Siberian TImes

One was spotted this month by an unnamed state inspector in the Shorsky National Park, says local government official Sergei Adlyakov.

'The creature did not look like a bear and quickly disappeared after breaking some branches of the bushes,' he was quoted as saying.

This case was in Tashtagolski district, close to the border with Khakassia, it was claimed. 

It was highlighted by Trud newspaper but when The Siberian Times asked Adlyakov for more details, he said the sighting was 'private information' and he had not intended that the 'sighting' was made public. 

The same official has claimed to be aware of yeti sightings in previous years. 

Earlier in August, fisherman Vitaly Vershinin saw two creatures near Myski village, according to a local Siberian newspaper. 

'Sailing up the river I saw on the bank what I thought were two bears,' he said. 'They were drinking water. 

'When they noticed me, they easily stood straight upright and went away... I did not wish to chase them.'

Fisherman Vitaly Vershinin shows Russian Vesti TV crew where he saw the 'creature'; below - GV of the river by Myski village 
In common with other sightings of supposed yetis, they are distinguished from bears - which are common in these areas - by running upright on two legs.

In a separate account, the fisherman took a Vesti TV crew back to the spot where he allegedly saw the yetis.

'We shouted to them - do you need help?', he said, initially thinking the creatures were humans. And they just rushed away, all in fur, walking on two legs, making way through the bushes with two other limbs, straight up the hill, right there,' he added, pointing.

'What did we think? It could not be bears, as the bear walks on all-fours, and they ran on two.... so then they were gone.'

It was reported that several days after this sighting 'local people saw a strange creature one more time'.

Finding a footprint and a hair - Russian TV shows footage from 2011 expedition to Azasskaya Cave in Kemerovo region

Officials in Kuzbass, Kemerovo region, told of another alleged sighting.'We were sailing in a boat without an engine. On the rock above the Mras-Su River we saw some tall animals looking like people,' said locals who have not been named. 

'Our binoculars were broken and did not let us see them sharply. We waved at the animals but they did not respond, then quickly ran back into the forest, walking on two legs.'

He stressed: 'We realised that they were not in dark clothes but covered by dark fur. They did walk like people.'

Russia's leading 'yeti expert' Igor Burtsev, head of the International Centre of Hominology, said he believes the supposed Myski sighting to be 'significant' though was unaware of the later National Shorsky Park case. 

Russia is to host a conference and expedition in search of the yeti next month, he said. In a similar hunt last year, Burtsev claimed that a team of international experts discovered samples of yeti hair. No DNA analysis has been released of the hair though it is understood tests are being undertaken.

'We plan a scientific conference on the yeti in October,' Burtsev said.  

'We shall explore new areas, to the north from the usual places yetis have been seen previously. The conference will start in Moscow and then we will travel with our guests to Kemerovo region.'

The exact location of the yeti-hunt in Kemerovo region is not known. 

'The conference and a following expedition is organised by the administration of Kemerovo region. We are glad that local authorities support our work', he said. 'Yetis are seen in many places of Russia but here in Kuzbass we are given a chance to explore this properly'. 

Burtsev claims the creature - also known as Bigfoot and Sasquatch - is a missing link between Neanderthal man and modern human beings. 

Mainstream scientists say the creatures are entirely mythical and point out no remains have been found of them despite alleged 'sightings'.

Footage of yetis often turns out to be fake, they add. Burtsev has previously claimed  a population of around 30 yetis are living in Kemerovo region. 

'We have good evidence of the yeti living in our region, and we have heard convincing details from experts elsewhere in Russia and in the US and Canada,' he said. 'The description of the habits of the Abominable Snowmen are similar from all over the world'.

Three separate 'sightings of yetis' in Siberia ahead of new expedition to find the 'abominable snowman' (Src: Siberian Times)

UPDATE!! Igor Burtsev, who is currently getting over pneumonia, has reported to us that the expedition has been canceled. His own words below.
The conference and the expedition failed... Because a couple days ago it became clear that almost all invited and supposed attendants from the USA, Canada, Australia, England, Mongolia, Finland met various obstacles and can't leave for Russia. Only France, Ukraine and Sweden remained, but it would not be enough. We also hoped to mark 45th Anniversary of PG film together with Bob Gimlin. But unfortunately in last moment received the info that his feeling was not so good to fly so long to reach Moscow and after to Siberia - just to opposite side of the Globe. That is why decision was adopted to conduct the conference and the expedition in Spring time... By the way, I'm writing this comment being in a hospital with pneumonia. Thus - all in one, as we say... It's a pity, sorry.
--Igor Burtsev

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Untimely Yeti Footprints found in Siberia

Siberian Yeti foot print (© Photo: «Vesti.Ru»)
We use the word "untimely" because usually Yeti news in the Shoria region falls in late September and early October. This timing usually funnels right into the tourism season starting with Yeti Day on November 11th. Of course this does not dis-qualify the great research (read our Kemerovo news coverage) being done in the region, we are only asserting that the Yeti is not usually on the minds of the population and media until Yeti Day begins to approach.

Below is an article from the Voice of Russia. 

Do yetis exist after all?

Maria Domnitskaya
Jun 19, 2012 18:31 Moscow Time

Fresh footprints of a yeti have recently been found in the region of Gornaya Shoria in Siberia. This picturesque mountainous area is sometimes dubbed a “Siberian Switzerland”.

A group of Italian scientists plans to visit Gornaya Shoria to look for more evidence that yetis really exist.

This is not the first time that footprints which are believed to belong to these mysterious creatures have been discovered in this region. Some local residents claim that they have seen yetis with their own eyes. As a rule, yetis’ footprints are found in the vicinity of the Azasskaya Cave and the Karatag Mountain.

Yetis’ footprints are bigger than those of humans – they can reach 45 cms in length. That’s why yetis are also called “Bigfoot”.

Gornaya Shoria has already become to be associated with claims of evidence that yetis exist. Every year, the tourist season in the local mountains opens with a celebration of ‘Yeti Day’, when tourists can find yeti souvenirs all over Shoria.

Local hunters call Bigfoot “the spirit of the taiga”.

In October 2011, a delegation of US, Canadian, Swedish, Estonian and Russian scientists explored the Azasskaya Cave. They didn’t find a yeti, but discovered a large footprint and small samples of hair inside it.

The hairs were up to 8 cms long, curly, gray along the whole length except at the root which was black.

The hair samples were taken to St. Petersburg and thoroughly examined at a local zoological institute. It turned out that they were identical to which was thought to be yetis’ hairs found earlier in California in the US, as well as outside St. Petersburg and in the Ural Mountains in Russia.

One of the members of the expedition, a member of St. Petersburg and New York academies, Valentin Sapunov says:

“These hairs are very similar to the other hairs which were found in 4 different parts of the world and are believed to be yeti hairs. The results from the tests conducted by the scientists indicate that these hair samples are very likely to belong to creatures of one and the same species. A scientific mistake would be highly unlikely.”

However, only genetic testing can prove or disprove that yetis are related to the Homo Sapiens. An attempt made by Russian scientists to examine the DNA of yetis’ hair samples found near St. Petersburg and in the Urals was unsuccessful due to lack of appropriate equipment. But when US scientists announced that the results of their testing apparently proved that the DNA of the yeti’s hair from California was in no way different to that of the Homo Sapiens, very few people actually believed them.

At present, Russian scientists are trying to extract DNA from the hair samples believed to be those of a yeti, which were found in the Azasskaya Cave.

In the meantime, a well-known genetic Professor Bryan Sykes from Oxford University is concluding his own tests. Using equipment of the latest generation, Professor Sykes is trying to prove that yetis really exist. As a sample, he uses what is believed to be yeti remains, which are held at the Museum of Zoology in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

Professor Sykes has posted a request on the museum website, which asks everyone, who may possess what they believe to be yeti remains, to send them to Professor Sykes for testing.

He promises to announce the results of the testing in December.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

British Journalist continues to bring us Yeti news from Russia

Illustration of a Shurale, a creature of similar description to the Yeti
"From 1960 to 1980, evidence grew up there of large red-haired ape-men, sometimes in family groups, being encountered by the locals." -- Edward Crabtree of The Kazan Herald

Based in Russia, The Kazan Herald is Tatarstan’s first and only English-language newspaper. Founded in May 2010, the newspaper is a trusted source of objective coverage and quality analysis of news, business, arts, opinion, sports, and tourism in Kazan and Tatarstan.

Fortunately for us, they have a British journalist, Edward Crabtree, who lives in Kazan and is very interested in the Yeti legends and relic hominid research.

You may remember Crabtree from his previous posts earlier this year, Shurale — A Tatar Yeti? and Russian Snowman (Yeti) Riddle Continues.

In his third article for The Kazan Herald he describes a story, translated for the first time, of a group of red-haired ape-men visiting a village in western Russia for over two decades

Why I’ll Keep Watching the Woods

By Edward Crabtree28 May 2012

Since I first waded into the controversy surrounding the presence (or absence), of unclassified man-like apes within the Russian Federation, some promising new leads have emerged in the field.

Algorithm, a Moscow Publishing house, have recently released a collection of writings by the late Soviet yeti hunter Boris Porshnyev (for more on him, see “The Russian Snowman Riddle Continues”). Entitled “The Enigma of the Snowmen: Contemporary Questions of Relict Hominids,” it is something of a weighty tome – all of it of course in Russian. My guess is that it contains much information which is likely to remain untranslated for Westerners for some time to come.

What I have been able to get translated, however, is a news story in a weekly magazine devoted to the mysterious (N.L.O – Unbelievable Legendary Evidence, March 12 no.5).The headline is “The Yeti of Malaya Vishyeva.” This eerie piece focuses on Novgorod Oblast in North-western Russia. Malaya Vishyeva is a sparsely populated village which is to this day hard to access being surrounded by marshland and dense forest. From1960 to 1980, evidence grew up there of large red-haired ape-men, sometimes in family groups, being encountered by the locals. Then in 2003 some footprints were found there. This spurred on the snowman advocate and St Petersburg academic Valentin Sapunov to do a field study of this region (his articles on the subject can be viewed here). There he came across apparent teeth marks in trees which were too far above ground level to be made by known animals.

The article relates of how there had been a tradition of “white eyed wonders” supposedly dwelling in the forests of that area, as told by the Finno-Ugric tribes that lived in the region up to the 6th Century. Indeed, whilst the concept “snyeshni chyelovek,” or snowman, first originated in a Russian newspaper in 1908, Russian folk culture has long been choc-a-bloc with wood goblin myths, from the Vors of the Komi people to the Pitsen of the Bashkirs. Our local equivalent in Tatarstan is “Shurale,” the semi-malevolent forest ghost who emerges in the twilight hours of spring and summer. The fact that he has been immortalised by a poem by Gabdulla Tukay and ballet can make us forget that he is often a frightening figure in Tatar stories. So, is the modern yeti just a reframing of an age-old bogeyman?

To answer this question we have to go far back in time. The first written report of an Asian wild-man was made in 1430. It is in the memoirs of a German nobleman who had no previous knowledge of the relevant folklore and, obviously, lived long before the yeti was the mass media icon that it now is. Hans Schiltenberger, travelling through Mongolia, was captured by the Mongols of the Golden Horde. From them he learnt of wild men who lived in the mountains and who “had nothing in common with ordinary human beings.” So perhaps, after all, these forest demons conceal an embellished memory of an anthropological fact.

There is, nevertheless, a legion of naysayers who will not admit of any stories or eyewitness claims as being of any value as evidence. “Find me a body of one of these monkey-men,” they say. “Then I’ll take you seriously.” A handy riposte to this can be found in this April’s issue of the Russian paranormal magazine, “Twentieth Century Secrets” in an article entitled “Is the Yeti From Another Dimension?” Those not quite ready to invoke fairyland to explain away the missing bodies can gain succour from the history of the classification of the Giant Panda. The West first learnt of this legendary creature’s existence in 1869, but the first Westerner to see a live one did so in 1906. It was not until 1936 that Ruth Harkness first took the first live panda back to the West. So, from a Western point of view, there was over a 70-year hiatus before the discovery of this large animal and its eventual capture. Bigfoot and Yeti research, on the other hand, has only been in existence for less than sixty years.

In the meantime, while a full-scale body may not have been produced, there has indeed been some other flesh-and-blood evidence which, whilst less sensational, cannot be lightly brushed aside. In 2009, the American television adventurer Joshua Gates returned from Nepal and Bhutan with some hairs from a suspected Yeti. These were duly forensically probed by a respected DNA testing laboratory called Diagnostics Inc. in Texas. The results? The hairs showed up as belonging to an “unknown sequence” which was close to human, but not human as we know it….

At this point the sceptics sit back and recite a list of Scooby-Doo style frauds and set ups as long as a yeti’s arm. These do indeed muddy the waters. Only last December we were greeted by the too-good-to-be true news from the Ingushetia Republic in the Russian Federation: a live snowman had been captured! The television interviews which followed seemed to be tongue-in-cheek and it did not take long for most to become aware that this was a money raising stunt. Perhaps the fact that any money made was to go towards a local orphanage mitigated things a bit, but this sort of superciliousness is not that uncommon and confines yeti news to the tabloid press.

It is at this point that I am reminded of a quotation from Arthur C. Clarke, the British science fiction writer. Clarke was a connoisseur of the unexplained, but also a scientist. Speaking on the Loch Ness Monster, that legendary creature from my own country, he said: “On Tuesdays and Thursdays I believe in the Loch Ness Monster.” He was hedging his bets then, but, as any gambler can tell you, two out of seven is not such bad odds.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Kemerovo's Association with the Yeti Continues: Meet the Coal Miners Mascot

Competition-winning illustration of Shorya coal miners mascot 

"The scientific community has no trust in such studies and has not even bothered to take a look at the materials collected."  -- Igor Burtsev 

"According to Burtsev, Shorya, which is a part of the Altai coalmining system is where the snowman reproduces..." -- Voice of Russia

You can read about the Kemerovo region's association with the yeti in our previous Kemerovo Posts. We also have a few post on Igor Burtsev.

While we have speculated that the association to Yeti is due to an effort to increase tourism in the Kemerovo region, Igor Burtsev's is convinced the area is rich in evidence and continues his 40-year research. Burtsev even believes he has a good indication where the Yeti reproduce.

The article below begins with the mascot story and then continues with a few gems from Igor Burtsev. 

The Shorya coal pit in the Kemerovo region, which the locals say has the largest number of "Yeti"-the strange species known as“Big Foot” now has its own mascot, in the shape of a blue-eyed smiling yeti with a miner’s helmet on his head and a miner’s pick on his shoulders. A sketch depicting the image of a  snowman won the open  competition titled "Yeti Talisman". The entry of a 19-year old student, Roman Zhilian was chosen as the best among the more than 600  entries in  the  online contest. 
The imaginary creature, which has evoked heated debates and hypotheses in the world has variously been known as “Bigfoot, Snowman, Forest-Dweller and many more”. It is more correct to talk about a snowman who lives alongside us, says Igor Burtsev, Director of the Moscow International Center for the study of the snowman. 
"They live in squalid conditions, live like animals, don’t use work instruments, don’t wear clothes or use fire, and don’t compete with people. But they have sufficient intellect and rely on the paranormal ability They live in a different orbit, not in the other world, but nocturnal. They avoid contact with people and live in inaccessible places."
The scientific study of the yeti is still unrecognized in the world, but people of different professions are studying them on a voluntary basis, said Igor Burtsev.
"I have been studying the so-called snowman for  over 40 years now and  I have gathered enough material about their existence within that period of time. Enthusiasts have been studying the snowman for more than 50 years, but the scientific community has no trust in such studies and has not even bothered   to take a look at the materials collected.  There had been great scientists who spent a great deal of energy and time studying the snowman phenomenon. They included the French zoologist, Evelmans, founder of the crypto zoology, which in1968 studied the corpse of a creature found in the U.S. together with another zoologist, Ivan Sanderson. They concluded that it was the corpse of a Neanderthal who died from a gunshot. But the corpse disappeared as soon as the information was published in the press. The frozen corpse of a  real snowman, 2.60 meters tall was displayed in France in 1997. It also disappeared mysteriously after the news appeared in the press."
The Yeti is a tourist brand of the Shorya mines since February 2009, when the local hunters saw in the taiga a human like creature covered in furs, for the first  time. According to Burtsev, Shorya, which is a part of the Altai coalmining system is where the  snowman reproduces.. Every two years, the  Day of  the snowman is marked, there is  a yeti museum and  souvenirs showing their pictures can be  bought everywhere. An International Scientific  and Applied Conference, devoted to ther problems of the snowman was held in Kuzbass last October. After exchanging information, experts from the U.S. Canada, China, Mongolia, Sweden, Spain and  other countries visited the Azassky cave  in the clay field, where fresh footprints of the bigfoot can be found.
Source: Voice of Russia.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Russian Snowman (Yeti) Riddle Continues

Screen capture of a 3 second video of a Siberian Yeti
“Anything is possible. I recommend you to come and search.” -- Russian President, Vladimir Putin, when asked if there were any Yeti's in Russia

Based in Russia, The Kazan Herald is Tatarstan’s first and only English-language newspaper. Founded in May 2010, the newspaper is a trusted source of objective coverage and quality analysis of news, business, arts, opinion, sports, and tourism in Kazan and Tatarstan. 

Fortunately for us, they have a British journalist, Edward Crabtree, who lives in Kazan and is very interested in the Yeti legends and relic hominid research.

Click the following link to read his post on "Shurale — A Tatar Yeti?"

In the article below Crabtree lists different reactions from Russian celebrities on the topic of the Yeti.

Russian Snowman Riddle Continues

By Edward Crabtree, 9 March 2012

The hiker who inadvertently took the three second long shot wishes to remain anonymous. This video footage (see below), first shown on a Russian television documentary three years ago, appears to show an upright, hairy man-like ape lurking in the woodlands of Siberia. Yeti hunters across the world, long weary of hoaxes, have found it credible. Thus we have another addition to the enduring legend of the Russian snowman, the “snyeshny chelovek.”

This phenomenon has already been dubbed the “Kuzbass Bigfoot” after another name for Kemerovo Oblast in Siberia, where sightings have been frequent. In the Southern part of the region, Gornaya Shorya, there have been 15 testimonies, no less, about the presence of an unusual ape-like beast there, complete with claims that it is making off with their livestock.

The American magazine Outdoor Life was being inundated with so many tales of this kind about the Siberian taiga that, when they secured a written interview with Mr. Putin on 19 May 2011, they asked: “Are there any yetis or wood-goblins there?” Mr Putin’s response was as cryptic as it was diplomatic: “Anything is possible. I recommend you to come and search.”

Another Russian celebrity seems to have taken up Putin’s gauntlet. The half-Tatar boxing champion Nikolai Valuyev flew to the Kemerovo region last summer to search himself. “Proof that the yeti exists appeared before the Russian revolution,” he intriguingly told The Independent last year on 17 September .

Nor is this focus on Russia as a home for unknown hominids a new one. Back in 1983, following a field trip to Mongolia, Dr. Myra Shackley, a British lecturer in Archaeological Science, devoted a book–entitled “Wildmen: Yeti, Sasquatch and Neanderthal Enigma”–to detailed reports of such creatures from Mongolia, the Pamirs, the Caucasus, and Siberia. Her conclusion: “there appears to be a prima facie case for the existence of a yeti type primate…in Western Siberia….Many of the sightings reported by reindeer herders and fishermen appear to be authentic, but there is undoubtedly a gloss of folktale.”

But does this only apply to Siberia? In The Kazan Herald on February 3rd, I proposed that the “Shurale” figure of Tatar and Bashkir mythology might be a distorted folk-memory of real interactions with relict hominids. Let us look at how Shurale is depicted–as a hairy, man-like forest dweller. His name is said to refer to his trademark deep laugh; bigfoot and yeti encounters also involve the creature making a howling or shrieking noise. Shurale has a horn on the top of his head; the yeti’s is thought to be cone-shaped. Shurale lives in birds’ nests; once again, Sasquatch investigators have stumbled across “nests” of twigs, which they ascribe to the Sasquatch’s activity.

Lastly, the stories of Shurale involve him poaching farm animals, and such is the case with the modern yeti, as the people of Gornaya Shoria can testify. It is also to be admitted that Shurale has the power of speech and a predilection for tickling people to death. Consider, however, the local snow-leopard–the Ak Bars. Is this not a catalogued, familiar animal? Stylized Tatar folk-art, however, shows it in some cases even having wings.

Established science does not completely jeer at the idea of the existence of the yeti–the iconic British naturalist David Attenborough made waves in 2009 when he said, live on a television talk show, that yeti footprints found 19,000 feet up were, by dint of this very fact, not likely to be the work of tricksters. Nevertheless, harder evidence is demanded. Why, ask the skeptics, in this interconnected and increasingly globalized era, are credible sightings not more frequent? Professor Valentin Sapunov, the St Petersburg based author of “The Secrets of the Snowmen: Between Man and Beast,” has a ready answer: we do not see them so often because they don’t wish to be seen!

I am not qualified to say as to whether the contemporary flora and fauna of Tatarstan is of the kind where a snowman, yeti or Shurale could be hiding and thriving. What is needed is for some educated Tatar speakers to go out into the more remote villages and see what stories there are from both past and present. While they are about it, they should take a video camera with them. You never know…! Snowman? Snowjoke!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mysterious Hominids Genome Decoded

Svante Pääbo is a Swedish biologist specializing in evolutionary genetics
recently has succesfully decoded the Denisovans Genome 
 "German scientists found finger bones from a new species of human ancestor known as Denisova hominin that co-existed with both humans and Neanderthals only 30,000 years ago." -- Jeff Meldrum in a previous post

The Denisova hominin finger used to decode the DNA was discovered near the the Kemerovo Cave. As you remember the Kemerovo cave was part of the Russian Yeti Conference that some (BLC included) considered a publicity stunt for the upcoming ski season. Click the link to catch up on the Kemerovo Yeti Conference.

Another way this impacts Bigfootdom is the Denisovan DNA information has been compared in Ketchum's Study as well. You can read the comparison on our post Bigfoot family Tree Below is an article posted today on
Entire Genome Of Extinct Human Decoded
Researchers have decoded the entire genome of a fossil from an extinct species of human related to Neanderthals.
The team from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology sequenced every position in the Denisovan genome about 30 times over.
They used DNA extracted from less than 10 milligrams of the finger bone discovered in Denisova Cave in southern Siberia.
Svante Pääbo and his colleagues presented a draft version of the genome in 2010 that showed this individual came from a previously unknown group of extinct humans.
Denisovans, along with their sister group the Neanderthals, are the closest extinct relatives of modern humans.
During the 2010 research, each position of the genome was determined only twice on average.  This level of resolution was only sufficient enough to establish the relationship between Denisovans to Neanderthals and modern humans.
However, they were unable to study the evolution of specific parts of the genome due to the low resolution.
Now, the team is even able to distinguish the small differences between the copies of genes it received from its mother and father.
“The genome is of very high quality”, Matthias Meyer, who developed the techniques that made this technical feat possible, said in a press release. “We cover all non-repetitive DNA sequences in the Denisovan genome so many times that it has fewer errors than most genomes from present-day humans that have been determined to date”.
This is the first complete genome sequence of an archaic human group, which could lead scientists to a better understanding of the evolutionary steps from this group to modern humans.
“We hope that biologists will be able to use this genome to discover genetic changes that were important for the development of modern human culture and technology, and enabled modern humans to leave Africa and rapidly spread around the world, starting around 100,000 years ago” Pääbo said in a press release.
The group said they plan to present a paper describing the findings later on this year.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Shurale — A Tatar Yeti?

"When the sun rose the villagers were awoken by the ghastly cries of a hairy human-like creature that had become glued to the back of one of the horses." Ines Cerro/KH.
"In 1958 the Soviet government saw fit to fund a 'snowman commission' to seek out the basis for Wildman’s reports which from the Pamir Mountains."-- Edward Crabtree

Based in Russia, The Kazan Herald is Tatarstan’s first and only English-language newspaper. Founded in May 2010, the newspaper is a trusted source of objective coverage and quality analysis of news, business, arts, opinion, sports, and tourism in Kazan and Tatarstan. 

Fortunately for us, they have a British journalist, Edward Crabtree, who lives in Kazan and is very interested in the Yeti legends and relic hominid research.

Below is a an article written by him discussing the the legend of the Shurale

Shurale — A Tatar Yeti?
By Edward Crabtree 22 January 2012

Does Shurale, mythical creature of Tatar folklore, have something to tell us about the Russian Yeti?

The world’s media has recently zoomed in on the Kemerovo region in Siberia. There, American and Russian investigators have joined forces to find the “snyeshni chyelovyek,” the snowman, or Russia’s very own Bigfoot, which is said to stalk the area. Dogged by the inevitable hoaxes and cultural confusions, many nevertheless hope that this search begins a new period of East-West cooperation in finally trying to crack this ongoing enigma.

Russia’s involvement in the snowman problem has not always been the risible issue on the fringes that it has since become. In 1958 the Soviet government saw fit to fund a “snowman commission” to seek out the basis for Wildman’s reports which from the Pamir Mountains. This was headed by Professor B.F. Porshnev and his hypothesis was that the Russian yeti was a relic of the Neanderthal, the much sought after missing link, bridging apes and humankind. Eight years later, this idea appeared to be strengthened when another yeti-expert, Doctor Jeanne Marie Kofman, addressed the Russian Geographical Society in Moscow and unveiled an identikit picture of what the snowman would look like as based on many eyewitness statements. A member of the audience then came forward to say how much this resembled the latest artist’s impression of a Neanderthal man, based on fossilized remains.

In Tibet the yeti is a quasi-mythological deity which is an inclusive part of the local Buddhist cosmology. For the Native Americans the “sasquatch” is a similar legendary creature to which magical powers are ascribed. If, indeed, there were a Neanderthal-related hominid existing on the outskirts of human society, then would not one expect the folklores of the world to tell of this? With this in mind, it is time to take a fresh look at the “shurale” of Bashkir and Tatar folklore.

Surale (Tatar: Шүрәле), seated at the right in this sculputre in central Kazan, is a Tatar and Bashkir mythical creature who according to legend lives in the forests, luring his victims and tickling them to death. Tatar poet Ğabdulla Tuqay wrote an epic poem based on the legend. Maxim Edwards/KH.
Sabirzyan Badtretdin, writing in the “Tatar Exclusive Web Gazette,” recently recounted a local tale that has been passed down from grandfathers to the current generation. According to legend, horses had been going missing from the village during the night and were discovered the following morning in an exhausted condition. As this could not be allowed to continue, the village elders were consulted as to what to do next. Their advice? To cover the horses’ saddles in tar and then to release them. Sure enough, when the sun rose the villagers were awoken by the ghastly cries of a hairy human-like creature that had become glued to the back of one of the horses. This was promptly slain and, it was, of course, recognized as being Shurale.

This macabre little account could easily be dismissed as merely a fireside tale, but it does find an echo in a better-documented story. In January 2002 the Russian Journal “Ural Stalker” carried a report by the biologist Nikolai Avdeev. This told of a Wildman who had appeared in the vicinity of Ibramigova village in the southern Urals and which had been blamed for the killing of domestic animals. This too was eventually captured and killed and was personified as shurale by the local Bashkirs. However, in this case, officials from outside the area had a chance to inspect the body. They described it as being covered in black hair, having red eyes, a pronounced brow and no forehead – and being reminiscent more of Bigfoot than of the nimble fingered horn headed Shurale.

This would not be the first time that a folk tale was found to have some grounding in fact. Vietnamese forest dwellers had long told stories of a large antelope creature which lived nearby, but this was not given credence by zoologists. After the discovery of some horns, an expedition was mounted which resulted in the discovery of the saola, a rare mammal known as the ‘Asian Unicorn’, which was only accepted by the mainstream science as late as 1992.

For the time being, in spite of the flippant attitudes towards it by many, there is an international race afoot to capture the ever elusive yeti. Just maybe, Tatarstan may hold one of the missing jigsaw pieces to this intriguing mystery.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dr. Jeff Meldrum's Presentation at the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Conference

Dr. Meldrum presenting at the Russian conference

Skeptic blogger Sharon Hill attended the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Conference and wrote a detailed article on Dr. Meldrum's somewhat impromptu presentation.

Below is a teaser of the article:

...His presentation, entitled “The Russian Connection”, was not the listed topic on the schedule. He noted that he changed his topic upon advice from the conference organizers after the media storm that ensued regarding the announcement that “scientists were 95% convinced” that the Russian Yeti exists. Along with American scientist John Bindernagle, and researcher Ron Morehead, Meldrum was part of the team invited to Kemerovo region of Siberia to discuss the formation of a scientific commission to study the yeti. Led to believe there was significant scientific interest by the academic institutions in the area, Meldrum expressed his dismay when the press coverage was greater than the public and academic interactions.

In his talk, Meldrum described the players involved in the conference that began in Moscow and ended in Kemerovo. Specifically, he named Igor Burtsev, director of the International Centre of Hominology in Tashtagol, Kemerovo region. Burtsev already holds the belief that yetis exist in the area and are a Neanderthal relic population.

Meldrum showed photographs and described how the local Russian contingent greeted and treated the invitees with much pomp and ceremony but little scientific protocol.

As in scientific conferences, the attendees were taken on a field trip to a cave in the municipality of Tashtagol. Meldrum said he began to get concerned about the event when twisted and broken trees were rather conveniently located near the sites they visited. Reservations about what he had gotten himself into grew when he noticed saw cuts in the trees. The guides pointed to every bent and broken tree as marks of the yeti. From what Meldrum observed, the cave was not remote but apparently visited rather frequently with the trail maintained by the local municipality. The group was told the cave was a probable yeti habitation. Inside the cave, Meldrum notes that “right on cue”, isolated footprints and a “nest” were pointed out by their hosts...

Meldrum at the Yeti nest (click to enlarge)

Read the Rest at DoubtfulNews

If you haven't been reading Doubtful News, your are missing some of the most inteligent and enjoyable reading on the internet. Please read our previous coverage of the Kemerovo Siberian Yeti Expedition.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Kemerovo Gov Offers 30K Reward for Finding Siberian Yeti

Leave it to the Wall Street Journal to report on the economy/financial side of Bigfoot news. The actual reward is 1 million rubles, which is roughly equal to over $31,000. Below, is a great article with a companion video embedded below.

We should mention that the Governor offers to have Tea with the Yeti. This is not the first time he has offered 1 million rubels and a tea party with the Yeti. The governor said the same thing last year in our post, "Tea party with the Yeti?"

And don't miss our previous Kemerovo Siberian Yeti coverage. We covered most of the main stream stuff, plus some exclusives to Bigfoot Lunch Club.

Bigfoot Hunters Detect Signs of the Hairy Beast in Siberia
Officials Host Conference, Offer Reward; 'We Need to Sit Down With Him, Drink Some Tea'

October 25th 2011

TASHTAGOL, Russia—Stooping to the damp floor of a darkened cave, Anatoly Fokin picked some thin filaments from a muddy footprint. "I found some hair, some real hair," he said, pulling the strands apart. "And here there are more—maybe it was a girl."

Mr. Fokin crept further into the chill, followed by a horde of television crews and photographers. Cameras illuminated more footprints and a bed of dried brush in a recess of the cavern. "This is unusual and good evidence," said Mr. Fokin, who dropped his full-time work as an architect to spend more time on hunts like this one. "A Yeti has been here."

Throughout the world, lore persists about wild hairy creatures walking upright through woods. In the U.S. they are called Bigfoot and Sasquatch, in Russia the Snow Person and Forest Creature. Tibet spawned the names Yeti and Abominable Snowman.

Dismissed as myth by scientists, Yetis are mainly the province of enthusiasts, and in Russia they've gotten an unexpected boost from the government. Siberian officials this month sponsored nature lovers, scientists and foreigners who claim they have socialized with Bigfoots to attend an International Scientific-Practical Conference on Hominology.

Hominology, a still-unrecognized branch of biology that studies hairy upright walking creatures, is championed by a handful of Russian devotees who hope to spark a revolution in evolutionary theory by contacting one of the many tribes of Bigfoots they say are living undetected in woods around the world, including in North America and Russia.

With government help, that day may be drawing near. Siberian officials issued a press release saying the three-day event this month turned up "irrefutable evidence" that such a creature—known to locals as a Snow Person—has been squatting in a Kemerovo cave 2,000 miles east of Moscow. Field trips into the surrounding mountains also turned up what they said were telltale signs of Yeti wanderings, such as bent and twisted branches, and underbrush that served as a bed.

Local officials say they will now make efforts to contact the beast, who hasn't yet been photographed. They will also begin funding a permanent center for Bigfoot research at Siberia's Kemerovo State University.

Kemerovo Gov. Aman Tuleyev is offering a one million ruble, or about $31,500, reward to anyone who finds a Yeti, telling Russian television, "We need to sit down with him, drink some tea and talk about life." Russian heavyweight boxing champion Nikolai Valuyev, who at nearly 7 feet tall is known as the "Beast from the East," made a foray into the woods last month to look for the creature, but came out saying he only found broken branches and footprints.

Officials say they would also like to drum up some tourism for Kemerovo, a poverty-stricken region known more for its coal mine accidents than alpine beauty. But Vladimir Makuta, the top official of Tashtagol, says he is a genuine believer in "a kind of forest spirit" who has been aiding and undermining hunters in the woods.

The very existence of a Yeti is looked upon askance by mainstream scientists, who say all the upright-walking mammals have long ago been discovered and categorized.

They dismiss evidence compiled by Yeti hunters as a mass of unverified sightings, fuzzy photographs and film clips, and footprints that have been planted by hucksters.

Lately, Bigfoot sightings have been on the rise in the U.S. Once confined to the Pacific Northwest and Appalachia, today they have spread as far as Texas, Florida and New England, says Brian Regal, a Bigfoot debunker and assistant professor of history of science at Kean University in New Jersey.

"Meeting Bigfoot has become the encounter du jour," says Mr. Regal, a native of New Jersey. "You can't spit over here without someone saying there's a monster living in the woods."

That has also made Bigfoot searching a growing business, in the same way UFO-ology became a trade since the 1950s, Mr. Regal says. Today the Internet hosts a range of websites devoted to Bigfoot happenings, while tour guides offer excursions in search of the creature.

Russia's own Bigfoot industry has been a laggard. An early enthusiast was Soviet historian Boris Porshnev, who believed Bigfoots in Russia were a relict strain of leftover Neanderthals or cavemen.

With government funding, Mr. Porshnev launched a Soviet Snowperson Commission that after 1958 trudged through the Pamir Mountains of modern-day Tajikistan and the Caucasus region. The group turned up no snowmen, only alleged footprints whose outlines they cast in plaster.

"They were addicted to this subject in the 1950s and 1960s and blew through a whole program," says Oleg Pugachuyov, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Zoological Institute in St. Petersburg. "They never found any real evidence. It was a myth."

But former colleagues of the late Mr. Porshnev still hold a candle for him, along with a collection of plaster casts at the International Center of Hominology in Moscow. Igor Burtsev, the center's director, says that with government support he is hoping he can establish synergy with Yeti hunters in the U.S., whom he visited last year and who "are far ahead of Russia in research."

Mr. Burtsev has visited conferences and gone on hunts in the U.S., staying for a week in rural Michigan, where Robin Lynne, 48, says she has been feeding a family of Bigfoots outside her home for two years.

Hosted by the regional government, Ms. Lynne flew to Siberia for the conference this month, where a tour bus with police escort drove participants to a hunting lodge in the piney outback. There, Ms. Lynne described how the Bigfoots bang on her door, bring her sticks as presents and drink water from a bucket in the yard when the weather is warm. "They love the bucket," she told the group.

Also attending was Jeff Meldrum, an associate professor of anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University.

Mr. Meldrum, who believes Bigfoot may exist, says he favors a "scientific approach" to the subject.

During the trip to the cave, he worried that the footprints they found were only for a right foot, none from a left. They also seemed to be stamped too perfectly, he said.

"I'd like to see progress," he said. "But some of this makes me suspicious."

SRC: The Wall Street Journal, page A1

Sunday, October 23, 2011

More Pictures from the Kemerovo Siberian Yeti Conference

Igor Burtsev (center standing) at the kick-off press conference. The 7ft. tall boxing champ Nikolai "beast from the east" Valuev is sitting on the panel (far right.)

As promised here are more pictures from the Kemerovo Yeti Conference provided by Ron Morehead. Morehead is best known for his audio recordings of Sasquatch vocalization, known as The Sierra Sounds. The Sierra Sounds Volume #1 "Bigfoot Recordings" is self-described as a selection of audio clips captured by Morehead, that reveal very clear Bigfoot vocalizations captured on a crisp night at a remote wilderness camp.

Ron Morehead was specifically tapped by Igor Burtsev, director of the International Centre of Hominology in Tashtagol and head of the 'Yeti institute' at Kemerovo State University, to join the expedition. Along with Igor Burtsev and Ron Moreheead, attendees included scientist from 7 different countries gathering in Kemerovo region 3,000 miles – and four time zones – east of Moscow.

The conference took place earlier this month (October, 2011)and produced several headlines that included the words "95% Certainty and Indisputable Proof" of the existence of Yeti.

Below are pictures from the expedition including a picture of the "nest" that was reported as one of the indisputable proofs.

Interesting ten foot tree branch formations on the way to the Kemerovo cave.

A closer look of the tree branch formations suggest these braches became intertwined early on and continued to become woven by nature.

Directly out side the Kemerovo cave

Inside the cave looking out.

Dr. Jeff Meldrum taking a closer look at the Yeti nest, reported as evidence from the expedition.

A cropped version of the above photo with the brightness adjusted for easier viewing (click to enlarge)

This is the size of the crew that was on the expedition taking a lunch break.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ron Morehead Back with Pictures from Siberian Yeti Expedition in Kemerovo

Bigfoot Lunch Club had the honor of spending the evening with Ron Morehead and Thom Powell in Portland, Oregon last night. Ron had just returned from the huge Kemerovo Siberian Yeti expedition. Not only did he come back with a perspective not told in the mainstream media, but he came back with photos too.

In case you don't know, Ron Morehead is best known for his audio recordings of Sasquatch vocalization, known as The Sierra Sounds. The Sierra Sounds Volume #1 "Bigfoot Recordings" is self-described as a selection of audio clips captured by Morehead, that reveal very clear Bigfoot vocalizations captured on a crisp night at a remote wilderness camp.

We actually have enough content to span several posts. So we will start at the beginning and see how many posts it will take.

When we asked Ron how he was contacted, he mentioned he had met Igor Burtsev, one of the most prominent yeti researchers in Russia, at a previous Sasquatch conference. Igor asked if Ron was interested in doing some investigations in Russia and that conversation led to the most recent expedition.

Once Ron got there he mentioned over and over again how well they were hosted. There is no doubt to the locals whether or not Yeti lived in the area; from Senators to the indigenous tribe of the Shors, they had all seen enough evidence. Therefor Ron and others were given quite the red carpet treatment.

The Picture below is the blessing of the indigenous Shors people. Wikipedia describes them as:

Most of Shors live in the Tom basin along the Kondoma and Mras-Su Rivers. This region is historically called Mountainous Shoria...The Shors were mainly engaged in hunting, fishing, some primitive farming, and pine nut picking. Blacksmithing and iron ore mining and melting were also important (hence, the name "Blacksmithing Tatars"). SRC: Wikipedia

The purpose of the ceremony was an opportunity to get permission from the Shors to investigate the area--and yes there was a mascot there.

Below is a video with RT correspondent Marina Portnaya who was with the expedition most of the time.

Stay tuned for more pics from the cave, tree formations, the nest, and castings from Ron's further adventures after the expedition.

Tonight (October 17, 2011) Ron Morehead will be on the Q&A panel of experts after the screening of "Not Your Typical Movie at the Hollywood Theatre in Portland, Oregon. More event details here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Siberian Yeti in Kemerovo Attention is in Time for Yeti Day Nov 11th

For you fans that have been with us for a while, you will remember our post last year about the Kemerovo Yeti Day on November 11th. This day marks the beginning of Kemerovo's ski season.

Click the following link to read our entire Kemerovo Siberian Yeti Coverage.

On Nov 4, 2010, we referenced a Russian publication with the following quotes:

"...Several advertising and PR experts said that Bigfoot reports were probably teasers for attracting tourists to the region. Three months after the sensational news tourism agencies had introduced excursions to 'Yeti's Cave.'

'Every year Yeti Day celebrations will mark the start of the ski season with thousands of ski lovers from all over Russia gathering on Mount Shoriya,' Zauervayn said, adding that Kemerovo Governor Aman Tuleyev is likely to take part in the Yeti-dedicated festivities..."

When the sensation in Kemerovo started this year we had added the caveat that this may be similar to last years ramp up towards the tourism and ski season in Kemerovo, but we were still excited about the group of people involved including Dr. Jeff Meldrum and Igor Burtsev.

While the tourism angle has eluded most of the media, it is refreshing to see a St. Louis Paper seems to have gone beyond the press release and talks about the economic motivation of the Kemerovo local government.

...The government of Russia's Kemerovo region said a two-day expedition last weekend by yeti experts had "collected irrefutable evidence" of the yeti's existence. Among the "irrefutable evidence": a couple of hairs, what was presumed to be a den and indistinct footprints.

Exciting though this news might be, it's important to remember that Kemerovo — in remote southwestern Siberia — has endured tough economic times since the collapse of the Soviet Union two decades ago. Yeti-based tourism and a government research center are among the Kemerovo government's goals...


Do we care that tourism is the impetus of the sensational claims from Kemerovo? No. We think the mainstream attention towards the phenomena of Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti is a good thing. If the attention peaks the interest of one smart person willing to do research and dig deeper, its worth any number of ignorant ones whose minds would not have been changed otherwise.

Michigan Bigfoot Prefers Blueberry Bagels

This is a hodgepodge of several Sasquatch news items from the Discovery News Website. It has some updates from the Siberian Yeti, quotes from Jeff Meldrum and opinions from Loren Coleman and a Michigan story of habituation where a women claims to be feeding a family of Bigfoot.

Yes this story is all over the place, but it has a few updates of the Siberian Yeti Expedition.

A Michigan woman says she feeds a bigfoot family blueberry bagels; others say a "snowman" roams Siberia.

By Eric Niiler

There are new claims of bigfoot encounters -- in Siberia and rural Michigan -- that will likely add to the debate over whether the creatures really exist, although neither holds the smoking gun of a photograph, tissue sample or other scientific evidence.

A group of Russians claim a living "snowman" roams the cold Shoria Mountain area of southern Siberia. Meanwhile a woman in Newaygo County, Mich., told Discovery News that she has been interacting with and actually feeding a large family of close to 10 Bigfoot-like creatures who live in the woods near her home for the past two years.

"They get fish every day, a bucket of fruit, a bucket of dry dog food," said Robin Lynn Pfeifer, a 47-year-old resident of Newaygo County, north of Grand Rapids. "Their favorite thing is blueberry bagels. If I'm not baking them, I go to different stores to buy them. I tell them they are feeding the wildlife."

She said she has collected casts of many large footprints, but says the creatures are too shy and too clever for her to get a photograph. She describes the Bigfoots as ranging from six to nine feet tall and looking like humans, except for hairy coats and broad noses.

"The biggest one I've sat and looked at for 15 minutes was nine and a half feet tall," Pfeifer told Discovery News. "The large male is all black. Others are beige and white. The biggest footprint is 18 and a half inches long."

Skeptics say that big claims need big proof, and so far that hasn't happened when it comes to Bigfoot. Natural history and evolutionary scientists also ask how these creatures could have survived for so long without being detected, and where the evidence is of their body or bones or DNA.

Loren Coleman directs the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine and has been studying and writing about strange sightings of creatures for several decades. He says he's skeptical of anyone who comes forward with tales of lengthy Bigfoot encounters without providing serious evidence.

"All the Bigfoot contactees -- for some reason they never take photographs," Coleman said. "There's a lot of interest in finding these things, but we have to look of the credibility of the people feeding us the stories. I'm always careful of two kinds of people, the debunkers who have no interest and the true believers who will not bring any critical thinking."

Coleman said he hasn't met with Pfeifer, but is doubtful, comparing her story to people who meet with aliens from UFOs.

"They really believe they are having these experiences," Coleman said. "I don't know if its hallucinations or a psychological state."

Pfeifer, however, is convinced her encounters are real and she said she realizes that most people will not believe her because of the lack of proof, such as scat, hair, tissue or a good photograph.

She says the Bigfoot clan began visiting her home shortly after she and her husband and three children moved into a 10-acre rural property back in November 2009. The creatures also engage in some unusual behaviors, she said. Sometimes they make knocking sounds underneath the family home's crawl space, twist and braid a rope used to tie the family's pony, or construct elaborate stick structures in the woods.

Pfeifer said she's tried to snap their picture, but she has not been successful. When she set up automatic cameras in the trees near her home, the creatures turned them upside down.

"I want people to realize that they do exist," Pfeifer said. "They are not aggressive, they are more human-like than an ape and I'm very protective of them."

Michigan has a history of Bigfoot sightings -- and a network of residents who post their findings on a website.

Pfeifer has been traveling in Russia to meet with other Bigfoot believers -- scientists and amateurs alike -- who gathered in the Kemerovo region recently to talk about the existence of a Russian "snowman" in the cold Shoria Mountain area of southern Siberia.

Igor Burtsev of the Moscow-based International Center of Hominology said that after the meeting, researchers from the United States, Canada, Sweden and Estonia traveled for two days to an area that has reported sightings of a large, Yeti-like creature.

Burtsev said he is 95 percent positive that he has evidence to prove the creature's existence: some hair found near a cave entrance, grasses made into a bed, large footprints, and tree branches that form a certain pattern.

"We were just two days in the forest and we found many things," Burtsev said. "We found a lot of confirmation that they exist there."

Burtsev said that he visited Pfeifer's home for a week in June but did not see any of the Bigfoot creatures. The next step, Pfeifer said, is to record the creatures' unusual vocal sounds.

Jeff Meldrum, professor of anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University, was at the meetings in Russia and has been sifting through the various claims about both the Russian Yeti in southern Siberia and Pfeifer's story of a Michigan Bigfoot.

"There's no substance to any of her claims," said Meldrum, who is an expert in the evolution of early hominid gait. "If there were 10 to 12 around her home, she should be opening up a museum with all the artifacts."

Meldrum also has questions about what Burtsev presented during the two-day trip to the cave in the Kemerovo region. He says when the group of scientists entered the cave, there were several large footprints along the muddy floor, but strangely enough, they were only imprints of right feet.

(Image provided by Jeff Meldrum)

"He must have been playing hopscotch," Meldrum quipped.

Meldrum says that while he's doubtful about the evidence for this particular creature, he is keeping an open mind when it comes to the possibility of a new species of hominid that could be alive today.

He points out that German scientists found finger bones from a new species of human ancestor known as Denisova hominin that co-existed with both humans and Neanderthals only 30,000 years ago.

That research was published last year in the journal Nature, using DNA sequencing to verify its age and identity. The cave where Denisova was found is 35 miles from the site where Meldrum and the other researchers were taken on their field trip.

SRC: Discovery News
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