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.
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.
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.)
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
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.
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.
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.
Krantz, Grover S. 1999. Bigfoot Sasquatch Evidence. Surrey:
Hancock House Publishers.
Dossier Almasty 92. Caucase. Expédition scientifique franco-soviètique.
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.
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).