Chuchunaa

GiantHominid of eastern Siberia.

Etymology: Related to Yakut (Turkic) word for "fugitive" or "outcast."

Variant names: Abas, Abasy, Chuchuna, Kuchena, Kuchuna, Mulen (Evenki/Altaic, "bandit"), Mulena, Siberian snowman.

Physical description: Heavily built. Height, usually 6 feet 6 inches-7 feet, though smaller sizes are reported. Long, matted head-hair. Lively expression. Big, black face. Protruding browridge. Small forehead, nose, and eyes. Broad chin. Heavy beard. Wide shoulders on relatively narrow body. Long arms.

Behavior: Travels singly or in small groups. May migrate south in the summer. Swift runner. Excellent swimmer. Incapable of speech but utters a piercing, modulated whistle. Hunts and eats reindeer and mountain goats. Catches or steals fishes from nets. Picks wild berries. Lives in caves. Allegedly raids settlements to steal food. Normally shy but occasionally picks fights with hunters or herders. Wears deerskin clothing, boots, and headband. Uses a knife, spear, and fire-steel, as well as a bow and feathered arrows in a quiver. Throws stones when otherwise unarmed.

Distribution: From the east bank of the Lena River, Sakha Republic, to the Chukotskiy Peninsula, Chukot Autonomous Province, Siberia, with concentrations in the Verkhoyansk and Poloustnaya Ranges and the upland massifs east of the Yana and Indigirka Rivers, Sakha Republic; as far south as the Khrebet Dzhugdzhur Range, Khabarovsk Territory, Siberian Russia.

Significant sightings: Many Mulen were said to have been killed during the Russian Civil War, 1918-1921, when refugees moved into previously uninhabited areas.

In the 1920s, Tatyana Zakharova and other Evenk villagers came across a Chuchunaa while gathering berries near Khoboyuto Creek. It was also picking and eating berries, but it stood up to a full height of nearly 7 feet when it saw them and ran away swiftly. The Chuchunaa was dressed in deerskin, had long arms, a small forehead, and jutting chin.

In czarist times and during World War II, many Chuchunaa were said to have been

104 chollier's ape rounded up and killed, their corpses buried secretly.

Possible explanations:

(1) Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis), cold-adapted hominids of Europe and West Asia that flourished 70,000-35,000 years ago, have been proposed by Myra Shackley, although the nearest fossils are some ambiguous teeth found in the Middle Paleolithic layers of Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains bordering Kazakhstan. The Chuchunaa and Mulen may actually represent a more advanced archaic human, since their toolkit seems more developed.

(2) Homo gardarensis, proposed by Mark Hall, although this medieval skeleton from Greenland is now universally considered to be a Norseman with acromegaly, a skull deformity caused by a malfunctioning pituitary gland.

(3) Paleoasiatic aborigines who have retreated into wilderness areas, suggested by Russian scientist S. Nikolaev.

(4) Completely mythical beings of the Siberian nomadic tribes, suggested by G. V. Ksenofontov.

Sources: P. L. Dravert, "Dikie lyudi muleny i chuchuna," Budushchaya Sibir, no. 6 (1933): 40-43; Georgii U. Ergis, ed., Istoricheskie predaniia i rasskazy Yakutov, vol. 1 (Moscow: Izd-vo Akademii Nauk SSSR, 1960); Bernard Heuvelmans and Boris F. Porshnev, L'homme de Neanderthal est toujours vivant (Paris: Plon, 1974), pp. 143-146; Vladimir Pushkarev, "Nevye svidetel'stra," Tekhnika Molodezhi, 1978, no. 6, pp. 48-52; "Sighting the Yeti's Relatives," Nature 271 (1978): 603; Myra Shackley, "The Case for Neanderthal Survival: Fact, Fiction, or Faction?" Antiquity 56 (1982): 31-41; Myra Shackley, Still Living? Yeti, Sasquatch and the Neanderthal Enigma (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1983), pp. 134-139; Gavriil V. Ksenofontov, Uraangkhai-sakhalar (Yakutsk, Siberia: Natsional'noe Izd-vo Respubliki Sakha, 1992); Dmitri Bayanov, In the Footsteps of the Russian Snowman (Moscow: Crypto-Logos, 1996), pp. 123-125, 129-130.

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