Okay, so in Russia he's called the Siberian Snowman. He's also known as Yeti, Sasquatch or the Abominable Snowman. It's a creature of legend — allegedly spotted countless times — but never actually confirmed as real for hundreds of years. With sightings of this tall, hairy and human-like beast on the rise in recent years, this might be about to change.
This week cryptozoologists, researchers who study the alleged existence of unknown creatures, are gathering for a world conference that will involve a field trip to Kemerovo — some 3,000 miles east of Moscow — in hopes of a sighting or contact. Sightings of the Siberian Snowman have increased three fold in this region over the past 20 years, leading scientists at Moscow's Darwin Museum to think there might be a group living there.
The creature is universally reported to be tall and hairy, with white patches covering it in the snowy Siberian region. While much evidence of the beast — footprints, grainy photos and videos, even alleged fecal matter — have been collected, the creature is generally believed to be shy and averse to making contact with its human neighbors. Researchers heading out on the expedition might be wise to travel in groups or carry large cans of pepper spray just in case, as reports coming from Nepal portray this unknown species as having attacked yaks and even sherpas.
So what exactly is the Siberian Snowman? No one really knows, but researchers at Russia's International Center of Hominology (hominology is the study of unknown hairy, bipedal creatures) speculate it may be close cousins to homo sapiens — a homo neanderthalensis. That's right, Neanderthals. These researchers think Neanderthal communities could very well have survived living deep in impenetrable woods, living the life of a time gone by with no fire and crude tools, ever watchful for their human cousins who usurped them in the evolutionary stakes.
One researcher watching the expedition closely will be Loren Coleman, co-author of The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates. Coleman is the founder and director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine — the only cryptozoology museum in the world. While he thinks the International Center for Hominology is doing "important work" on the study of hominids, financial barriers and a reopening of his museum prevented his attendance.
The Cryptozoology Museum is undergoing a major expansion to house Coleman's extensive collection of evidence of the elusive creatures and will reopen on October 30. Who knows? Perhaps the Russian expedition will be so successful that future collections will include definitive proof of the existence of this mysterious creature.
Watch this space!
BBC News, via