The Almasty, Mongolian for "wild man," is an alleged hominid cryptid said to inhabit the Caucasus and Pamir Mountains of central Asia, and the Altai Mountains of southern Mongolia.
Almas is a singular word in Mongolian. Variants of the word, including Almasty , The snow man, Jangali Mosh ('man of the forest, wild man'), Barmanu, or Chuchunaa.
In contrast to the Yeti of the Himalayas and the Bigfoot of Americas, the Almas is generally considered to be more akin to "wild people" in appearance and habits than to apes.
Almases are typically described as human-like bipedal animals, between five and six and a half feet tall, their bodies covered with reddish-brown hair, with anthropomorphic facial features including a pronounced browridge, flat nose, and a weak chin. His arms are shorter than the Yeti's. He has less hair (black or brown) on the face and body than the other hominids. Many cryptozoologist researchers believe there is a similarity between these descriptions and modern reconstructions of how Neanderthals might have appeared.
He is said to feed on berries. Sometimes he attacks sheep, but eats only their liver. Being a nocturnal creature, it is very difficult to catch a glimpse of this elusive hominoid. As a rule, the "snow man" leaves no traces of its death.
The Caucasus Mountains, the Pamir-Altaï Mountains*, West Mongolia, the Urals and the Russian Northwest (the Karelsky Isthmus, a 90-mile-long isthmus in Karelia, between the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga). There have been interesting sightings in the Arkhangelsk Region as well.
* Other paranormal phenomenon (UFOs and biophysical phenomena) have been reported in the Pamir mountains.
For centuries, reports about strange creatures and rituals have leaked from the taiga. Almases appear in the legends of local people, who tell stories of sightings and human-Almas interactions dating back several hundred years.
Sightings recorded in writing go back as far back as the 15th century. In some cases, people have attempted to shoot the creature. These individuals reportedly died afterwards under mysterious circumstances.
In 1430, 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 seen Almases. It seems that neither the Mongol children nor the young Almas were afraid of each other. Ivlov's driver also claimed to have seen them (Shackley, 91).
Russian researcher Alexei Sitnikov and his team of researchers reported a very strange encounter that took place in 1993, while on their way to Lake Tonee. The explorers had been planning to study the area for several years, but had been unable to do so because of a lack of resources and the wretched state of the Russian economy. Their plan was to determine the optimal time to conduct an expedition to search for proof of the possible habitation of a gigantic serpent in the region. (There have been numerous reports about the existence of such a serpent in the Far Eastern part of Russia, in the Primorskaya taiga).
The group of explorers had barely begun their trek when they had encountered a creature known to the locals as "snow man." They were crossing the river on a raft, and on the other bank of the river noticed a man who was covered with reddish fur. The creature turned around, made a sound resembling grunts, and then disappeared in the thicket. A few seconds later the raft had reached the shore, and Sitnikov with a colleague chased the creature. Their fellow explorer Sergei guarded the raft. They did not find the creature, and came back to the river. Sergei did find a barely visible footprint at the site where they first sighted the "snow man." Sitnikov recalls that the creature was only three meters away when they saw it, and it was plainly visible. The weather was sunny and clear.
The creature was about two meters in height; its fur was of a dark hue, and not thick. Its head was somewhat triangular in shape, widening toward its base. (The base was straight, but from the forehead toward the crown the head narrowed.) The creature had small eyes, wide nostrils, and a slit in place of a mouth. The neck was not visible, and it looked as if the head was placed on wide shoulders. It possessed a powerful chest. Sitnikov had collected many descriptions of the "snow man" and has gathered statements from the local populace, including hunters who have encountered Bigfoot in the wilds. Secret settlements have been found deep in the thick woods.
Soviet scientists speculate that the Chuchunaa represents the last surviving remnant of the Siberian paleo-asiatic aborigines that retreated to the upper reaches of the Yana and Indigirka rivers.
Myra Shackley and Bernard Heuvelmans both wrote that the Almases are a relict population of Neanderthals, while Loren Coleman suggests surviving specimens of Homo erectus.
Another explanation is that they are purely mythological creatures, since no hard evidence (skeletons, specimens, etc.) has been found to date.