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Published in June 2001

Almasty 92: New findings, additions and corrections.

Further investigations in connection with the expedition revealed new facts which complete the picture of the events. Some of our statements from May 99 (see above) require correction. However, the importance of the expedition Almasty 92 needs to be stressed again. Such a research project under the guidance of the Russian Society of Cryptozoology (RSC), conceived to last many years and with extensive technical equipment had never happened before. For the first time in the history of research into the European 'snowman', a world renowned European palaeontologist, Professor Yves Coppens, publicly expressed interest in the research and gave his moral support. The co-discoverer of the skeleton Australopithecus afarensis, which became globally famous as 'Lucy', is a well known personality in France and his recommendation created great public interest. For the first time, respected French scientific journals gave attention to the problem and reported on the planned expedition.

Original logo of the expedition.


An authority from this competent scientific discipline, which is most qualified for the 'snowman' question, supports the search for unknown relict hominids in Europe simply with his name - an important step against "The orthodox view in primatology (...) that Homo Sapiens is the only living species of the family Hominidae." (Bayanov and Burtsev,1976:312). Nevertheless, the project under discussion "Entant donné la portée du problème et la complexité de sa solution, il s`agit d´une vaste opération scientifique de haut niveau et à long terme qui va demander de nomberux moyens techniques: transport, dédection et surveillance, documentation audio-visuelle, communication, etc." (Koffmann, 1992: 65), came to a standstil. It is all the more inexplicable that to this day the RSC has not given a plausible explanation for the reasons behind the failure.

One of our accounts from May 1999 needs correcting. There we stated "Organisational problems delayed the departure of the French group from Paris. (...) Due the very long delay, the Russians had already left by the time the group with Koffmann arrived the Caucasus." and this is obviously wrong. The statement was based on verbal information of Koffmann which we, at the time, in 1999 thought was reliable. Pallix group did not arrive late in the Caucasus - Koffmann had claimed they had by several month. Koffmann had spread this version as a reason for the failure of the expedition. On their way to the Caucasus, the French group met some RSC representatives in Moscow. Also, according to Koffmann, her Russian colleagues had to leave the Caucasus, where they had waiting for several month, before the French arrived. The truth, however, is that RSC members often turned up during Pallix work in the Caucasus, but, because of their limited holiday time, could only stay for a short while. Among these was the medical practitioner Andrej Kozlov, an experienced field worker, who had previously worked with Koffmann in the Caucasus.

We wrote further, in may 1999 "In Koffmanns article (...) the readers were told about scientific co-operation (...) announced between Russian and 'French-researchers'. (...) Today, one must suspect that really researchers never existed." Correct is that a young Frenchman from Paris was present. He was discribed as a biologist by Koffmann and as a "naturalist" in the Pallix film and was probably the only scientist in the Caucasus who came from France. Yet it is interesting to note who this was: Sylvain Mahuzier, a member of the well known french family, who had been friendly with Koffmann for a long time. Already, in 1979, he visited the Caucasus together with Katja and Alain Mahuzier. Somtimes during the expedition 1999, he did not work with Pallix group, but travelled about with Koffman. It would be interesting today to know his thougts about the conflict between Koffmann and Pallix and his evaluation of the film, since on must assume that Mahuzier did not know Koffmans real intentions. A Kabardinian zoologist was also present during the preparations of the expedition and concerned with obtaining necessary documents. He did not however take part in the expedition itself and did not fieldwork. Altough she continued to work in the Caucasus after 1992, Koffmann invited no more Frenchman. One member of the Pallix group visited the region again in 1993 to work independently. Koffmann was also in the Caucasus at the same time and tried to hinder the Frenchman`s work. (Contrary to her verbal statement, Koffmann was in the Caucasus in 1993 too.)

A few more comments about Pallix film which resulted from the expedition:  ALMASTY  yeti du Caucase  is the full title. To this day it is unknown even to some well informed specialists in Europe and the USA. Apparently, Koffmann and some of her colleagues was sucessful in discrediting the film and in preventing its distribution. Her motivation is not only the fact that most film sequences taken in the Caucasus were made without her supervision. A more important reason is probably that the film shows facts which could be valuable to other researchers in their field work while appearing trivial to the uninitiated. Our opinion is that Koffmann wanted to prevent this information reaching foreigeners. After 1992, the region was visited by, among others, Japanese and American teams. Important sequences of Pallix Film, such as the eyewittness acounts, were only possible because for the first time in the history of Caucasian expeditions a previous associate of Koffmanns disobeyed her instructions and against her wishes supported foreigners.

Film sequences which were taken in Paris prior to the expedition show Koffmann and Yves Coppens in conversation. Pictures of the countryside where the Almasty lives and of practical field work can be seen and many  eyewitness report about their encounters with the creature, sometimes seen at a distance of only a few metres. The kabardinian eyewitness Doucha "Iwanova" (the really name of this person is Doucha Apsikova) encountered a Almasty only a few days before the film sequence. She took the french team to the meeting place where they were able to film traces left by the creature. 
Andrej Kozlov made plaster casts of theese footprints. Interestingly, Kozlov showed also the place, where they had found footprints of good quality in 1976 and he reports in the film that a single hair was found in one of these footprints. Perm medical institut examined the hair and concluded that it did not come from any human or known animal source. Traces who was found during the expedition 1992 were evaluated by Kozlov at the end of the film as good result. They are also published together with photographs of local eyewitnesses by Welfare and Fairley (1993). In the film Gregory Panchenko, a biologist, also reports his nocturnal meeting with a Almasty and the french team filmed the meeting spot, a barn.The film shows the use of darting equipment because the target of the expedition was the anesthetization of an Almasty. About this intention Koffmann informed her russian colleagues befor the expedition. Krantz (1999: 225-228) discused in detail the problem of the use of transquilizing drugs and the risk  for hominoids life. In our opinion the anesthetization of an Almasty stand obviously in contradiction to the strict RSC rule "...not to use any methods endangering the life of an relict hominoid." (Bayanov, 1996: 145). However, overall the film gives the impression that Koffmann took part in the whole expedition and this is not true, as already explained above.

In march 1999, Bayanov and Koffmann represented the RSC at the world cryptozoological conference in Rome and both of them  read papers. One must however note that altough they may represent the RSC, they are a long way from representing the whole of  'snowman' research in the old Soviet Union. In addition to the RSC and its leaders, Bayanov, Koffmann, Makarov and Trachtenherz other working groups and many individual researchers, scientists and non-scientists, have been working for a long time independently.

Over the decades, hundreds of interested people have taken part in 'snowman' expeditions in the former Soviet Union. The Caucasus, one of the 'field universities' of hominologists, also saw many researchers come and go. Some of them worked later on their own initiative in other regions and there are some who do not agree with the group around Bayanov and Koffmann. They follow a different field work philosophy and are not interested in fame, popularity and publication which does not serve the cause of research. However, the whole history of  'snowmen' research in the regions of the former Soviet Union can never be written without their names.

Notes

Bayanov, Dmitri; Bourtsev, Igor. 1976. 'On Neanderthal vs. Paranthropus.' Current Anthropology. vol.17 pp. 312-318.
Bayanov, Dmitri. 1996. In the Footsteps of the Russian Snowman. Moscow: Crypto-Logos.
Krantz, Grover S. 1999. Bigfoot Sasquatch Evidence. Surrey: Hancock House Publishers.
Dossier  Almasty 92. Caucase. Expédition scientifique franco-soviètique. Paris: Sturgis.
Koffmann, Marie-Jeanne.1991. 'L' Almasty, yeti du Caucase.' Archeologia. 269. pp. 24-43.
Koffmann, Marie-Jeanne.1992. 'L' Almasty, mode de vie d'un hominide.' Archeologia. 276. pp. 52-65.
Welfare, Simon; Fairley, John. 1993. A - Z of Mysteries. London: Harper Collins Publishers.





 

Koffmann's off-road vehicle 'Gasik' has been taken to bits and, after more than thirty years of fieldwork,
has ended it`s working life. (Sarmakovo, Kabardino-Balkaria, Summer 1999).