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Saturday, April 19, 2014

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Zana

In Abkhazia, Western Caucasus, relict hominoids are called abnauayu. While collecting reports in 1962, a colleague of Boris Porshnev, zoologist Prof Alexander Mashkovtsev, heard and studied the story of Zana. Subsequently, Porshnev took over where his late companion left off. The following information is borrowed from Porshnev's work The Struggle for Troglodytes.

Zana was a female abnauayu who had been caught and tamed and who lived and died within the memory of a number of people still alive at the time of the research. She was buried near the village of Tkhina in the Ochamchiri District of Abkhazia in the 1880s or 1890s.

But she became the mother of human children, and this is the wonderous side of her life story, very important for the science of genetics. Zana was pregnant several times by various men, and, giving birth without assistance, she always washed the newborn child in the cold water-spring. The half-breed infants, unable to survive these ablutions, died.

 

So, when subsequently Zana gave birth, the villagers began taking the newborn babies away from her in good time, and reared them themselves. Four times this happened, and the children, two sons and two daughters, grew up as humans, fully-fledged and normal men and women who could talk and possessed reason. It is true that they had some strange physical and mental features, but nonetheless they were fully capable of engaging in work and social Life

 

The eldest son's name was Dzhanda, and the eldest daughter was Kodzhanar. The second daughter was named Gamasa, and the younger son Khwit, who died in 1954. All had descendants of their own, scattered across Abkhazia. It was then decided to exhume the skull of Khwit, Zana's younger son, whose grave was still well indicated. Professor N. Bourchak-Abramovich assisted me in that digging. I brought the skull to Moscow where it was studied by two physical anthropologists, M.A.Kolodieva and M.M.Gerasimova. The results of the study were reported by me at the Relict Hominoid Research Seminar and the Moscow Naturalists' Society and published in 1987.

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