Kemerovo Oblast, Russia.
For decades now, residents in this humble coal mining region of Siberia have been terrorized by a mysterious beast, a beast which lurks silently through the picturesque forests and mountains of this stunning landscape.
A region, under SEIGE, And its people, gripped by FEAR.
Will the Kuzbass Yeti ever be brought to justice?
Bigfoot. The name itself is known to conjure up images of a blurry, hair-covered man-beast lumbering through the forests of North America. The Native Americans have known of its existence since before the time of the white man. Even the moniker “Sasquatch” derives from a Salish word meaning “Wild Man”. The legend persists to this day, and sightings of this mythical beast are still being reported in modern times. To some people, the thought of bigfoot existing as a real, flesh and blood creature is downright laughable; as surely a semi-truck driver would’ve turned one into street pizza, or a hunter would’ve JFK’d one by now. And yet, in about 70 years of the topic being in the mainstream of American culture, the best pieces of evidence we have are the Patterson-Gimlin video footage, footprint casts, and audio recordings of the creature howling and speaking strange gibberish. And of course, an endless stream of eyewitness testimony.
However, Bigfoot is not exclusively a North American phenomenon – the Yeti, or Abominable Snowman of Nepal, is thought to be the cousin of the North American Bigfoot, and a close 2nd in fame when it comes to legendary, upright, bipedal, hairy man-like beasts. Credible claims, if you would like to call them that, span all over the globe, and even Australia has its own Bigfoot-like creature, called the Yowie, which both the Aboriginals as well as early white settlers have reported sightings of.
But in order to understand the genesis of Bigfoot, if you believe it to be a real creature, we must first ask ourselves how it got to North America in the first place. Where did it come from originally? Theories are plentiful, but answers are few. However, if you believe in bigfoot, and you believe it to be an undiscovered species of ape or hominin, it realistically could’ve only arrived in North America from one place: Siberia, via the Bering Strait land bridge that existed during the last ice age, just as the ancient native Americans did. So with that said, it begs the question: could the distant relatives of Bigfoot still be alive in the unspoiled wilderness of Siberia?
But in order to answer this question, we must first travel back in time.
We take you now to an apothecary shop in Hong Kong in the year 1935. As Dutch-German paleontologist Gustav Ralph von Koenigswald browses around the shop, a large molar tooth catches his eye. Teeth like these had been used in traditional Chinese medicine for eons, and were known as “Dragon’s Teeth”. However, this one is definitely not a tooth from a dragon, and as it later turns out, comes from an as-of-yet undiscovered type of giant ape. He dubs the creature “Gigantopithecus” which translates literally to “Giant Ape”.
Since the time of Koenigswald, over 1300 more teeth of this creature have been tracked down, mostly from the traditional Chinese medicine market. Aside from teeth and partial mandibles, no other remains of this creature have ever been found. However, despite only finding teeth and partial mandibles, many facts about the creature can be extrapolated.
It’s remains, although few, have been found in Southern China, Northern Vietnam, and Northwest Thailand.
Although many modern reconstructions of the creature tend to resemble modern gorillas, through scientific analysis, it’s known that this creature was actually part of the Ponginae group of apes, which is the same family that the Orangutan belongs to. This makes sense, as it’s mandible is also shaped more closely to that of Orangutans, rather than to gorillas. It’s unknown how its body was shaped, but most scientists assume that it looked much like many other apes of its time, moving around as a quadruped most of the time, while still being able to walk bipedally on occasion.
Through scientific analysis, it’s been determined that if it stood up on two legs, it may have towered in at nearly 3 meters tall, and weigh in at about 600 lbs. or more.
Through dental analysis, it’s been discovered that the creature was an herbivore, consuming fruits, leaves, and other plant matter.
While many recreations and artistic representations of the creature depict it as walking on two feet like bigfoot does, there is currently no evidence to support this assertion. However, the late Dr. Grover Krantz, an American anthropologist who, as a disclaimer, was a big believer in Sasquatch, argued that due to how the jaw of Gigantopithecus widens toward the rear, this indicated that the creature was mainly bipedal, as it would allow for the trachea to be housed when the skull was placed on top of the neck like a human, instead of forward like on an ape. However, the science is still out on this one, and his claim has been widely criticized as a flawed theory at best.
It's estimated that the species finally went extinct about 300,000 years ago, as a result of it’s habitat being devastated by climate change, and possibly human activity as well.
Although no link has been officially established between Gigantopithecus and the Bigfoot phenomenon, many point to it as a precedent for the possibility of a giant ape existing not too far away from this area to this day. If not the Gigantopithecus itself, then perhaps something adjacent to it.
Deep in the mountains and forests of Siberia, in modern day Russia, many have reported sightings of strange, hairy man or ape-like beasts that roam the landscape of its most sparsely populated regions.
In the late 1950s, the Soviet Union organized several expeditions into Siberia in search of the Yeti, but ultimately found nothing.
Dr. Boris Porshniv, born in Russia in 1905 in St. Petersburg, a Soviet historian and sociologist and Doctor of History and Philosophy, and Honored Doctor of Clermont Ferrand University in France
He hypothesized that the palaeanthropus, an ancient lineage of man, is still alive.
In his opinion, they were leading a secret life in remote areas, in particular in Pamirs.
Porshniv’s hypothesis was criticized, because in the view of some, he unceremoniously entered the field of biological knowledge, which was alien to him. He was slammed for speaking on a subject that was not his field of specialization.
The commission in search of the Yeti was dismissed. It’s chairman geologist Sergei Obruchev recommended studying the issue at the institute of ethnography as a local belief.
However, Porshniv didn’t give up. In 1963 he published a book “The Mystery of Bigfoot: The Current State of the Question of Relic Hominids”
In the foreword of the book, Nikolai Dresdov, who is a Professor at Moscow State University and host of the TV show “In the World of Animals” the following:
“The author managed to irrefutably prove the reality of the existence of bigfoot, and even outlined its historical range and showed the stages of its reduction.”
Dresdov refers to the fact that the hominae is described in the same way in various cultures. “Tall stature, a powerful physique, long arms, a hunched over posture, a powerful neck, and noticeable crest on the back of the head and crown, dark red, thick hair, a loud shrill voice, and a heavy, disgusting smell.”
“Yes, this is a real character, not a hero of fairytales!”
Although sasquatch is mostly a North American phenomenon, the legend also persists in Russia, and some of the most intelligent and trustworthy people in the country are hot on the trail, including former heavyweight world champion boxer, pillar of the community, and possibly the world’s first Zika victim, Nikolai Valuev. Known as the “Beast of the East”, standing at over 7 feet tall and weighing over 300 lbs, he’s spent most of his life punching other people in the face for a living, but nowadays, works as a politician in the state Duma, making Russia a safer and more prosperous place for future generations. But when he’s not in the Duma, he’s spending his time hunting down long-lost members of his family tree out in the far east of Siberia.
Since retiring from boxing in 2009, he has spent the better part of more than a decade searching for the creature. In February of that year, local authorities in the Kemerovo region told Russian Media that there had been a sighting of a “hairy humanoid creature that was 1.5-2 meters tall”.
Valuev, being a man of bravery and the utmost integrity, and with little else to do after having just retired from boxing, answered the call and set out on a grueling 2-day expedition into the Kemerovo region of Siberia in 2011 in search of the creature.
Known for its large coal deposits and ability to drop to minus 40 degrees centigrade, the Kemerovo region is fun for the whole family, and allegedly the main habitat of the creature known as the “Kuzbass Yeti”.
Valuev was accompanied by journalists from 16 Russian media outlets on his trip to find the so-called “Kuzbass Yeti”, which locals had reporting sighting in 2009, but unfortunately, Valuev was unable to hunt down a living specimen.
However, a government statement reported that “Valuev did not manage to meet the yeti itself, but on the way, he discovered traces such as broken tree branches. By the time they reached the Azass cave, the expedition saw gigantic footprints, similar to a human’s.”
Furthermore, Valuev spoke to local hunters in the area who have sighted the beast, and they warned him that the so-called Kuzbass Yeti doesn’t like to appear before humans. However, this never deterred Valuev, who has become even more determined to find the creature and prove its existence.
Valuev was later dunked on by a troll Twitter account which impersonated Bigfoot, which tweeted “Nikolai Valuev drank a bucket of tea in my cave, but carelessly forgot the bucket itself. Thanks! It’ll come in useful at home. Pity that it’s not quite enough for me.”
According to the Weekly World News, which is known to be just an absolute pillar of the journalistic profession, just a month after his search in the Azass cave, Valuev claimed to have finally found the elusive creature after he embarked on a new expedition. In this encounter, Valuev claimed to have chased down the Yeti and was able to land a punch on it.
“…but the beast just took my punch and ran off. At least I know he is real. I’ve punched him. That’s real.” Valuev later explained.
In 2013, he even appeared on a Channel 4 series called “Bigfoot Files” in the UK, which documented his journey to Siberia.
In the show, Valuev met with 3 boys who took footage of an alleged Yeti-like creature on a camera phone.
In January 2012, a group of boys were out walking in a field about 30km from the coal mining city of Leninsk-Kuznetskiy in the Kemerovo region, when they noticed odd tracks in the snow.
As the claim goes, one of them, 11 year old Yevgeny Anisimov, pulled out a cell phone and began taking video as they followed the tracks.
Yevgeny was with his friends, 12 year old Kirill Sodatov, and 11 year old Alexander Pereverin.
As Yevgeny made his way further and further along the trail of strange looking footprints, he paused before a wooded area ahead, and was shocked and horrified by what he saw. He spotted a large dark figure standing toward the rear of the small, wooded area, standing completely still, before it suddenly bolted off in the opposite direction. Yevgeny can be heard screaming “I am the nearest, I’m going to be eaten!” as the boys begin running back in the direction they came from.
In the episode, one of the boys described the creature as having a bare, hairless, white colored face, with dark hair all over its body.
The boys were not the only ones who were shocked by the footage, as Valuev too was rendered nearly speechless by the grainy footage, stating that he was “slightly in shock”.
Nikolai Valuev’s heroic quest continues to this day.
Back in October of 2011, Russian officials from the Kemerovo region announced that they had found “Indisputable evidence” that the Yetis were real, and living in their region.
During an expedition into the Azasskaya cave directly after an international conference on the creature, researchers and Russian officials found bent tree branches, an alleged footprint of the creature, and a small sample of grey hair in the cave.
The Kemerovo Region Administration stated publicly that “During the expedition to the Azasskaya cave, conference participants gathered indisputable proof that the Shoria mountains are inhabited by the Snow Man. They found his footprints, his supposed bed, and various markers with which the Yeti uses to denote his territory.”
The markers they refer to are the snapped tree branches, which many Sasquatch believers believe are the way that the creatures mark their territory.
The officials went on to state that they were “95 percent certain” that the Yeti existed in the area of Mount Shoria.
Dr. Igor Burtsev, who led the conference, said that it would not be long before everyone knew of the Yeti’s existence.
“We are close to finally finding the Abominable Snowman” he said.
Dr. Burtsev believes that around 30 Yetis live in the Kemerovo region, and stated that they were Neanderthals that have survived into modern times.
Dr. John Bindernagel, a Canadian Bigfoot researcher who has since passed away, stated “We were shown some twisted willow branches that are referred to as markers – they were convincing evidence of this hominoid… We were also shown some tracks, but we’re not quite sure what to make of them.”
In 2012, three more sightings of the Kuzbass Yeti were reported in the Kemerovo region.
The creature was spotted at Shorsky National Park, with government spokesman Sergei Adlyakov saying “The creature did not look like a bear and quickly disappeared after breaking some branches of the bushes.”
However, when pressed by the Siberian Times for further details of the sighting, Adlyakov replied that the sighting was private information which was not intended to have been made public.
In August of that year, fisherman Vitaly Vershinin told a local Siberian newspaper that he had spotted two bear-like creatures drinking at the water’s edge near Myski village. He said “When they noticed me, they easily stood straight upright and went away… I did not wish to chase them.”
He went on to state that he initially thought that the pair were humans.
He had shouted at the two creatures, asking them if they needed help.
“And then they just rushed away, all in fur, walking on two legs, making their way through the bushes on two limbs.”
He went on to say “What did we think? It could not be bears, as the bear walks on all-fours, and they ran on two… and then they were gone.”
The third reported sighting in this region during the year of our lord 2012 was without great detail, but according to the witness, “some tall animals looking like people” were on a rock above the Mras-Su River.
The witness added “Our binoculars were broken and did not let us see them sharply. We waved at the animals but they did not respond, then quickly ran back into the forest, walking on two legs.”
The witness later said “We realized they were not in dark clothes but covered by dark fur. They did walk like people.”
In an article from the Siberian Times dated April 1, 2016, they reported that President Vladimir Putin himself had witnessed the Yeti while on a trip out East into Siberia.
Environmental rangers and hunters in remote mountain terrain say the Kremlin leader 'personally witnessed' three Yetis while on a recent helicopter trip to a remote location famous for claimed sightings.
'He and his entourage saw an adult male and female, and a smaller child Yeti, at a distance of about 150 metres,' said Dmitry Ivanov, a national park wildlife expert who was with the group.
'At first the creatures stood and watched, then took big strides into the trees. Briefly, they reappeared as if curious about the presidential group, but then vanished again. The were covered in thick grey coloured hair and took giant steps, far bigger than a man.'
The sighting is understood to have been confirmed by 63 year old President Putin's security detachment after they inspected the footprints in the newly-fallen snow. Pictures of the creatures will be be released later on Friday April 1 by the Kremlin press service, it is understood.
It is unknown if they were taken by prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, a noted photographer, who was on the same trip, according to local newspaper reports in Kemerovo.
The Yeti family sighting came on President Putin's latest wildlife visit to remote regions of Siberia. He was said to be 'awestruck' by the sighting.
Now scientists from the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Science have been ordered to investigate the discovery, but the Russians will do everything to 'protect the Yeti in their natural habitat'.
The president is well known for his exploits to protect Siberian wildlife - including tigers, leopards, polar bears and along with Pacific whales - but if the Yeti 'find' is confirmed this will be his most remarkable achievement yet. On one occasion in 2012 he flew in a hang glider over Arctic Siberia in an attempt to teach white cranes to fly south to migrate.
Yeti are also known as Big Foot or Abominable Snowmen. Sightings have been made in North America as well as Russia and other areas of Asia over many decades, but sceptics always dismissed the claims. The location of the sensational 'discovery' was some 32 kilometres from the Azass Cave, a place where Yeti-believers have previously said there were sightings.
Igor Burtsev, Director of the International Centre of Hominology in Moscow, said: 'This is extraordinary news. Yeti-deniers will now have to eat their words. We previously found hair from the Yeti in the Azass Cave even if the Americans and British disputed our findings.'