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Soviet Hominologists Were Right: Siberian Neandertals

Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 1st, 2007

Russian Bigfoot

Palaeoarchaeological findings appear to be catching up to hominology, the segment of cryptozoology studying unknown hominoids.

For some time, a few of us have studied various reports of what might be surviving Neandertals* in Siberia and China. Whether called Mecheny, Mirygdy, Chuchunaa, Mulen, or Wildmen, some Soviet Snowmen Commission scientists and a few Chinese in the last century theorized we might be dealing with relict populations of Neandertals. Especially intriguing are the Chuchunaa, the often clothed, eastern version of the Mirygdy, seen in Eastern Siberia.

(Perhaps further research will also show the fossil Neandertals were a bit larger in their southern and eastern range than in the north, also mirroring the hominological reports?)

In a new study published in Nature, hominid fossils, some as young as 28,000 years old, from Siberia, near China, have been said to show the range of Neandertals is more vast than previously thought.

The highlights of one AFP wire service article about this notes:

Remains from the slope-browed hominid have previously been found over an area stretching from Spain to Uzbekistan, but the new study extends the eastern boundary of their wanderings another 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) deep into southern Siberia, just above the western tip of what is today China.
. . .
Geneticist Svante Paabo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and colleagues compared mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences from bones found from two sites — one in Teshik Tash, Uzbekistan and the other from the Altai Mountains in Siberia — with those of specimens from different European sites.
. . .
The study, published in the British journal Nature, confirms that the adult fossils — about 40,000 years old — from Okladnikov Cave in Siberia genetically match the European Neanderthal.
. . .
The presence of Neanderthals in Siberia “raises the possibility that they man have been present even farther to the east, in Mongolia and China,” the study notes.

Smaller and squatter than modern man, Neanderthals lived in parts of what are today Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East for around 170,000 years.

The abstract from Nature summarizes, thusly:

Morphological traits typical of Neanderthals began to appear in European hominids at least 400,000 years ago and about 150,000 years ago in western Asia. After their initial appearance, such traits increased in frequency and the extent to which they are expressed until they disappeared shortly after 30,000 years ago. However, because most fossil hominid remains are fragmentary, it can be difficult or impossible to determine unambiguously whether a fossil is of Neanderthal origin. This limits the ability to determine when and where Neanderthals lived. To determine how far to the east Neanderthals ranged, we determined mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences from hominid remains found in Uzbekistan and in the Altai region of southern Siberia. Here we show that the DNA sequences from these fossils fall within the European Neanderthal mtDNA variation. Thus, the geographic range of Neanderthals is likely to have extended at least 2,000 km further to the east than commonly assumed.Neanderthals in central Asia and Siberia, by Johannes Krause, Ludovic Orlando, David Serre, Bence Viola, Kay Prufer, Michael P. Richards, Jean-Jacques Hublin, Catherine Hanni, Anatoly P. Derevianko & Svante Paabo, Nature, September 30, 2007, 10.1038

+++
*Note about the spelling of “Neandertal”: I follow the revised scientific and modern German spelling of Neandertal. The British media and UK scientific journals still follow the old way of spelling the common name as “Neanderthal.” Therefore, in general, the American media are confused in how they spell it. But for me, it’s been “Neandertal” for years.

As always, I highly recommend anthropologist John Hawk’s blog entry, “Neandertal or Neanderthal?” for the specific reasons why it is so uncool to use the “th.”
+++

Russian Wildman

Mecheny, as drawn by artist Harry Trumbore in The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


21 Responses to “Soviet Hominologists Were Right: Siberian Neandertals”

  1. Ceroill responds:

    Thanks, Loren. I always enjoy learning something new. I was aware of the differences in spelling the word, it was the reasons that I wasn’t sure of. Good article. I’m enjoying perusing the rest of Hawks’ site.

  2. serpent_seeker responds:

    Im fimiliar with this subject of the neanderthal man, from various reports it seems that the neanderthal man may still walk among us yepecially in the siberian mountains only now if cryptozooology can get a body of one of these beings, it would be a graet find

  3. serpent_seeker responds:

    In siberia there are many caves that are hidden and now only if science can explore these caves.

  4. bill green responds:

    hey loren i agree this new article about siberian neandertals is very informative. thanks bill green :)

  5. sschaper responds:

    Certainly possible, though I don’t think they’d look anything like the drawings given here.

    What is particularly interesting is that they were in those areas.

    Though as I write this I seem to remember reading of Neandertal huts in Siberia, built with mammoth tusks, presumably wrapped in mammoth hides.

  6. Kathy Strain responds:

    Very, very cool article Loren.

  7. squatchwatcher responds:

    I don’t really buy the whole neandertal explanation for hairy hominids being seen today. My understanding of the neandertal race was that they really wasn’t all that different from modern humans (Cro-Magnon). Am I wrong in thinking this? From what I have read the neandertal certainly were able to manipulate fire and used certain tools. Also they probably had some form of language. They really wasn’t even that hairy according to most theories. Now you’re trying to tell me that over the last 10,000 years they just mysteriously forgot all this? A little absurd if you ask me. It’s just hard for me to believe that an entire race of humans (or sub-humans) would just throw it all away, it just doesn’t make any sense to me. Just my two cents.

  8. JTM5 responds:

    sweet, i am loving this. more and more are we finding links to bigfoot and almas, and so on.

  9. red_pill_junkie responds:

    squatchwatcher, those are valid arguments. But maybe we should think of cultural advances in Neanderthal groups as heterogeneous as with homo sapiens groups. Think of it this way: while some homo sapiens groups were still following a hunter-gatherer way of living, other groups were building pyramids, and other groups were making telescopes.

    I’m not saying this is necessarily the case here, but it may be a way of explaining the lack of fire use and tools that has been reported with the crypto-hominids of the Caucasus.

    But I agree with you, the image of the Neaderthal types has vertainly changed a lot from the artistic representations made during the XIX century, to what we see nowadays on the Discovery channel.

    http://www.informativos.telecinco.es/hallan/esqueleto-neandertal/murcia/dn_52464.htm

  10. jayman responds:

    A couple of comments: I believe the mammoth-tusk huts referred to above are usually attributed to Homo sapiens, but if the Neandertals did reach Siberia, we may have to rethink that.

    And I have to agree that most sightings of homins in that area today, like the Mecheny illustrated above, seem much too primitive to be Neandertals, both physically and culturally.

  11. sschaper responds:

    squatchwatcher.
    That is correct. Neandertal even had music and religious rituals. They had a bigger brain than we do. They adopted the tool kits and cultures of modern man when they lived close to them.

    There are factions in the anthropological community. This comes out when this race is discussed. I saw such on Discover the other night. They showed them not having sewn clothing, but we know that they had needles, no evidence of music or ritual. And they claim that they had no abstract thoughts, no imagination. Now, how could they know such a thing? And surely the bone flute proves otherwise, along with the burials and the cave bear cult.

    Erectus had fire.

    Now, could some still exist? Maybe. It sure would be cool.

    Would they explain all of the sightings of bipedal apes? I don’t think so. Just the ones in the central Asian mountain ranges, I suspect. Those typically sound a lot more human.

  12. Mnynames responds:

    Neanderthals have never been a good fit for most of the Eurasian hairy bipeds, with the exception of a few reports of “tribes” of skin-wearing peoples with an unknown language, who occasionally trade with humans. My money is still on H. erectus or a close relative for most of the other reports, short of your Yeti types, which are even more primitive (And in at least one case, likely a cryptid bear).

  13. Loren Coleman responds:

    This is a comment section; not a conversation forum. Off-topic remarks are regularly deleted. Thank you for your cooperation.

  14. Terry W. Colvin responds:

    I’m a splitter on this issue. I think Neandertals are
    separate from wildmen and big hairy creatures. The
    Neandertal DNA may live on through interbreeding but the phenotype is no longer expressed.

    Did Mark A. Hall’s book on relict populations discuss the pros and cons of Neandertals surviving into at least recorded history if not today?

  15. Allen Hazen responds:

    Loren–
    Mystery solved: I clicked the link in your article. The ABSTRACT of Krause et al.’s paper was put on-line by “Nature” on 30 Sept: the complete paper will, I suppose, appear in due course.
    I don’t recognize the other names (no surprise: I’m not in their field professionally), but the last author named, Svante Paabo, has for some years been one of the leading researchers into Neandert(h)al (not to mention Mammoth) DNA. His lab is probably the best in the business when it comes to the practicalities of looking for “fossil” DNA (avoiding contamination etc etc etc).

  16. zytebac responds:

    Am I wrong, or did I read somewhere that Neantertal and H. Erectus were able to cross breed and produced a varient, whose skull was found somewhere in W. Europe?
    I only bring this up on the prelude that if Neantertal is still around, wouldn’t it have intermixed so much that in this day and age it would appear to look more Erectus, and less Mechany-like?
    My thought is that the Siberian, or Mechany Creature is something of a more ape-like class than of a sub-human species. Something so genetically different that it has remained basically unchanged, except for environmental factors. Or perhaps interbreeding with our own sasquatch gene pool.

  17. Ole Bub responds:

    Excellent article…Loren.

    Thanks for sharing…

    Hmmmm…makes me wonder about the Native American concept of “Ancient Peoples” and “Shadow People”…JMHO

    Looking forward to meeting so many fine folks at the Jefferson conference next month. Anyone have lodging recommendations for the TBRC Jefferson event?

    live and let live…

    ole bub and the dawgs

  18. things-in-the-woods responds:

    I’m with squatchwatcher and Mnynames- Neanderthals aren’t a very good fit for most claimed hominids- they were far too culturally and technologically advanced (although the stuff about language possession is entirely speculative and evidence for musical instruments or rituals is tenuous at best- but they had hafted tools, control of fire, and sophisticated wood-working skills at least), and too morphilogically similar to Homo sapiens sapiens. If there were surviving neaderthals, most likely they would be mistaken for one of us, rather than some kind of hulking ape monster (for one thing, Neanderthals are typically short- well under six feet tall- even if kind of beefy).

    I too suspect that H. erectus or a similar hominid is the origin of BF et al (that or a Giganto relative), but even this requires quite a remarkable cultural regression (erectus made incredibly sophisticated stone tools, for instance, whereas tool use reported among BF and related beasties is rare and doesn’t get much beyond the very occasional digging stick, which is more similar to- if not simpler than- that of existing non-human apes).

    Zytebac-
    I have heard nothing about hybridization between neanderthals and erectus (although it doesn’t seem impossible- especially early in the emergence of the neaderthal species). There are very occasional claims of neanderthal/homo sapiens sapiens interbreeding (e.g., the Larga Velho child), but these are not widely accepted in the palaeoanthropological community, and even if true seem to be extremely rare and isolated (i.e., not sufficient or sustained enough gene-flow to allow the emergence of a new species).

    With regards to the discovery highlighted in the Nature paper, I am not particularly surprised, either by its location or its relatively late date. There are no major barriers to their colonisation of this region (other perhaps than climate- but if Neanderthals could populate the severe tundra of northern germany then outposts in southern siberia dont seem impossible). I think we can expect further finds in this region as more excavation is carried out (it is worth remembering that distribution maps of past species are hugely biased by the amount of excavation carried out in specific regions- there have probably been as many excavations in southern france as in the whole of siberia, or large parts of central africa).

    The late date is matched by similar dates for the last surviving Neanderthal population refuges in Iberia, the Caucases and Crimea, and perhaps the Balkans.

  19. Mnynames responds:

    Things-In-The-Woods brings up a good point about erectus tool use, which is one reason I tend to think the Yowie might be an erectus descendant because some use of sticks have been reported (The other being that they were known island hoppers, and possibly even built rafts, making Australia a reachable destination).

    Most of the really big, hulking types seem much more ape than man (It’s a fine line, I know), suggesting something more akin to Gigantopithecus or Paranthropus (Not as certain as I once was about G. blacki being the best candidate, Loren makes some good points with his Paranthropus theory).

  20. dogu4 responds:

    Its sometimes speculated that h.sapiens with their greater tool use (weapons) and larger numbers due to complex social orgnization as they encountered these smaller bands saw them as a threat and wiped them out. Those variants of h. erectus or neanderthal if they had fire would be the easiest to spot and eliminate by a coordinated effort to rid the primitive h.sapiens of the percieved threat/competition…and trolls.
    So, perhaps those with a larger surface/volume ratio, the more gracile forms, which would have been naturally more dependent on fire, shelter and rudimentary tools would have been wiped out by making themselves conspicuous while the larger variants with their smaller surface to volume ration (and presumably a fur coat) who could survive as individuals or small families without the need for fire would linger and hold on, but not exhibit the traits that drew attention to their fellow relic hominid populations, and infact develope instincts for a highly deveolped instinct for cryptic behaviors and nocturnal sight.
    I think it might be worth considering that while we humans use our sight to a large degree to identify our fellow species members and potential mates, most other animals rely on non-visual cues and if the pheremones are effective, and there are not behavioral barries, might be at the mercy of their instinctive urge to mate no matter if the prospective partner looks different.

  21. PunkMaister responds:

    The Neanderthals were not hairy apelike brutes other than being bit shorter and stout and with pronounced protruding eyebrows and really big nose they looked pretty much like us…



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