Thursday, 16 September 2010

You Wouldn't, Would You?

This week, I have mainly been thinking about human/ape hybridisation, mainly off the back of this week's episode of The Paracast, where David Hatcher Childress discusses Bigfoot, the Yeti and so on, and at one point discusses various alleged attempts by various cryptohominids to mate with humans.
The best known of these is Zana, an alleged abnauayu (the local word for a relict hominid, similar to alma, kaptar etc) captured in the Caucasus mountains in the 1840s- more info on her capture is here. She became tame, and gave birth to several children, many of whom died after she washed them in a cold stream immediately after birth. The villagers eventually saved some of her offspring by confiscating them. The aforementioned article shows a couple of pictures of her descendants, including her son and grand daughter.
Various people have claimed this as evidence of a population of relict hominids in the area, though if she produced viable offspring with mating with humans, this suggests she was fully human. An analysis of what is thought to be her skull has been done, along with that of her son, and although they are unusual, they are not outwith the morphological range for modern humans, and DNA analysis has confirmed they are both genetically modern humans. This has lead some people to suggest that Zana may have been a black slave who had escaped from Turkey and her wildness exaggerated over time, alternatively it's been postulated that she may have been a local suffering from a condition such as hypertrichosis. Another interpretation is that the area does harbour an extremely primitive but otherwise modern tribe of homo sapiens.
Going by the photographs, her descendants don't look unusual at all- maybe a bit darker than you'd expect people from that part of the world to look- her son in particular looks a bit like an aborigine, but you wouldn't look twice if you saw them on the streets of a multi-racial city.
There are quite a few other tales of Bigfoot/yeti/other wild people abducting humans with the intention of mating with them, possibly the best known being that of Albert Ostman, who claimed he was kidnapped to be the mate of a young female Bigfoot.
Hatcher Childress mentioned a photograph of an apparent human/hominid hybrid woman from Brazil, which I'm not familiar with, I may need to invest in a copy of his book to find out more.
I'd barely finished digesting that when Micah Hanks posted this article at The Gralien Report about chimp/human hybrids. There's no confirmed humanzees of chumans, some biologists do believe it could be possible, in the laboratory at least- although there are documented instances of human/ape sexual contact, such as this story about a female orangutan rescued from prostitution (I realise Vice is hardly the best source of info, but I'm reluctant to dig further on this subject)- not sure if it's the same orangutan, but a couple of my friends visited a primate sanctuary in the UK who had a orangutan rescued from prostitution, not sure how widespread this practice is, and I suspect it's maybe better not to know in this case.
As a footnote, it's worth mentioning the chapter on sex and the sasquatch in Loren Coleman's excellent Bigfoot: The True Story Of Apes In America which includes a sighting of what can only be described as a sasquatch bumming a cow. Friends have accused me of making this story up, but it's in this book, make of that what you will!

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