Russian ape woman Zana – Was she a real life Yeti?
Professor Bryan Sykes of the University of Oxford claims a towering woman named Zana who lived in 19th Century Russia – and appeared to be ‘half human, half ape’ – could have been the fabled yeti.
Witnesses described the six-foot, six-inches tall woman discovered in the Caucasus mountains between Georgia and Russia as having ‘all the characteristics of a wild animal’ – and covered in thick auburn hair.
Experts believe the wandering ‘Wild Woman’ was found lurking in the remote region of Ochamchir in the Republic of Abkhazia.
She was captured by a local merchant in the 1850s who hired a group of hunters to subdue and shackle her in the mountainous terrain.
Professor Sykes claims Zana was kept in a ‘ditch surrounded by sharpened spikes’ and sold from owner to owner until she came to serve nobleman Edgi Genaba as a servant.
The ape woman
Famously known as the ape woman, Zana had at least four children by local men and some of her descendants still live in the region, the Times reported.
Sykes made an astonishing discovery when he carried out saliva tests on six of her living relatives and the tooth of her deceased son Khwit.
The DNA analysis revealed that they all contained the right amount of African DNA for Zana the ape woman to be ‘100 per cent African’ but remarkably she did not resemble any known group.
Her resemblance was that of a wild beast – ‘the most frightening feature of which was her expression which was pure animal,’ one Russian zoologist wrote in 1996.
In his book ‘Nature of the Best’, Sykes argues that Zana could be the yeti. She would outrun a horse and swim across the Moskva river even when it rose in violent high tide.’
Some have argued that she was a runaway Ottoman slave but Professor Sykes says her ‘unparalleled DNA’ refutes that theory.
He believes her ancestors came out of Africa over 100,000 years ago and lived in the remote Caucasus for many generations.
Zana was eventually ‘tamed’ by the nobleman who bought her as a servant and kept her on his estate in Tkhina in the Republic of Abkhazia.
Accounts from the time claim she was incredibly muscular, slept outdoors and ran around naked until she died on the estate in 1890.
Some of his colleagues doubt his other findings – which include a claim that an unknown species of bear might account for yeti sightings in Bhutan.
Despite the lack of hard proof from the analysis of the alleged ‘yeti hairs’, he says he has developed a strong sense that ‘something is out there’ after speaking to dozens of witnesses.
Professor Sykes could not say if the yeti, bigfoot or the Russian almasty is the best candidate for a surviving race of human ‘apemen’.
He said: ‘Bigfoot has many more people trying to find it. But I suppose either the yeti or the alma / almasty, which live in inaccessible and very thinly populated regions, is the most likely.’