Grouping Cryptid, Folklore
Sub grouping Hominid
Similar creatures Skunk Ape, Yeren, Yowie, Mande Barung, Orang Pendek, Bigfoot, Yeti, Barmanou
Mythology Turkish folklore
Country Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan
Region Mongolia, Central Asia, Caucasus
The Almas or Alma (Mongolian: Алмас/Almas, Chechen: Алмазы, Turkish: Albıs), Mongolian for "wild man", is a purported hominid cryptozoological species reputed to inhabit the Caucasus and Pamir Mountains of Central Asia, and the Altai Mountains of western Mongolia. The creature is not currently recognized or cataloged by science. Furthermore, scientists generally reject the possibility that such megafauna cryptids exist, because of the improbably large numbers necessary to maintain a breeding population.
Sightings recorded in writing go as far back as the 15th century.
In 1420, Hans Schiltberger recorded his personal observation of these creatures in the journal of his trip to Mongolia as a prisoner of the Mongol Khan. Schiltberger also recorded one of the first European sightings of Przewalski horses. (Manuscript in the Munich Municipal Library, Sign. 1603, Bl. 210)(Shackley, 94). He noted that Almasty are part of the Mongolian and Tibetan apothecary's materia medica, along with thousands of other animals and plants that live today.
British anthropologist Myra Shackley in Still Living? describes Ivan Ivlov's 1963 observation of a family group of Almas. Ivlov, a pediatrician, decided to interview some of the Mongolian children who were his patients, and discovered that many of them had also said that they had seen Almases and that neither the Mongol children nor the young Almas were afraid of each other. Ivlov's driver also claimed to have seen them.
A wild woman named Zana is said to have lived in the isolated mountain village of T'khina fifty miles from Sukhumi in Abkhazia in the Caucasus; some have speculated she may have been an Almas, but the evidence indicates that she was a human.
Captured in the mountains in 1850, she was at first violent towards her captors but soon became domesticated and assisted with simple household chores. Zana is said to have had sexual relations with a man of the village named Edgi Genaba, and gave birth to a number of children of apparently normal human appearance. Several of these children, however, died in infancy.
The father, meanwhile, gave away four of the surviving children to local families. The two boys, Dzhanda and Khwit Genaba (born 1878 and 1884), and the two girls, Kodzhanar and Gamasa Genaba (born 1880 and 1882), were assimilated into normal society, married, and had families of their own. Zana herself died in 1890. The skull of Khwit (also spelled Kvit) is still extant, and was examined by Grover Krantz in the early 1990s. He pronounced it to be entirely modern, with no Neanderthal features at all. Another account by Russian anthropologist M.A.Kolodieva described the skull as significantly different from the normal males from Abkhazia: the skull "approaches closest the Neolithic Vovnigi II skulls of the fossil series