Tuesday, 4 December 2018

The Mongolian Wild Man's Last Stand

     One reason for taking cryptozoology seriously is the possibility that a significant species is going extinct before science has even established its existence. Thus, throughout the boreal forests of Russia, as far as Siberia, legends abound of primates apparently similar to the North American bigfoot. However, if the legends are correct, a wide tract of Central Asia also harbours isolated pockets of a different type of primate: slightly smaller, slightly more social, slightly more manlike (but only slightly). Such, for example, are the almasties of the Caucasus, and possibly the bar manu of Chitral. Peasants still claim to see them in Tajikistan. In Mongolia the term is almas (singular; it is not the plural of "alma"), and the leading researcher used to be Professor Yöngsiyebü-Biambyn Rinchen of Ulaan Baatar (1905 - 1977). The Mongolian alphabets are different to ours, so his surname has also been transliterated as "Rincen" and "Rinčen", and his initial as "P" and "B".
     In any case, in 1964 Prof Rinchen wrote a paper for the Italian journal, Genus in which he claimed that almas were then restricted to an area of 1,000 square kilometres [380 square miles] in his country.