U.S. And Russian Scientists Target Elusive Siberian Snowman
Snowmen aren't just playthings children build in wintertime. Some say they're living beings, and an international group of scientists are about to go hunting for one -- specifically, the Siberian Snowman.
Around the world, there have been reports of large, hairy, human-like creatures. Known variously as Bigfoot, Sasquatch, the Abominable Snowman and the Siberian Snowman, none of the elusive animals have ever been captured to confirm their existence.
But cryptozoologists -- researchers who study the alleged existence of unknown animals -- say eyewitness accounts, photographs, films, videos, footprints, hair and even fecal material all suggest the possibility of an unknown species that doesn't seem to want to be discovered.
That may all change, as scientists from the U.S., Russia and other countries come together this week for a conference that will include a trek to the Siberian region of Kemerovo to hunt for the alleged snowman.
CHECK OUT THIS BIGFOOT, SASQUATCH, YETI PHOTO GALLERY:
This still image taken from a 1977 film purports to show Bigfoot in California.
A film still shows what former rodeo rider Roger Patterson said is the American version of the Abominable Snowman of Nepal and Tibet. The film of the tall creature was shot by Patterson and Robert Gimlin northeast of Eureka, Calif., in October 1967.
Ohio Bigfoot Encounter -- April 2012
As a motor biker was driving through the Grand River area of Ohio in April 2012, an alleged Bigfoot ran across the road and was caught on videotape.
Depicted is an illustration of a creature reported to inhabit the Kemerovo region of Siberia. Scientists from the U.S., Russia and other countries have yet to find one of these creatures known as the Russian Snowman. In early October, researchers claimed to be 95 percent certain that the animal exists.
An alleged footprint of a Yeti, or Abominable Snowman, appears in snow near Mount Everest in 1951. Now, scientists are setting out to find evidence of a reported unknown, hairy, bipedal creature known as the Siberian Snowman.
Bigfoot or bear? Impression left on the driver's side window of a pickup truck owned by Jeffrey Gonzalez. The bizarre image was left by an alleged Bigfoot in California's Sierra National Forest over Memorial Day 2011. DNA samples of the impressions will eventually determine the identity of the animal responsible for them. (See next slide for a close-up of the paw-like impression.)
Close-up of the "paw" print image. The impression was reportedly left by Bigfoot on the window of a pickup truck in the California Sierra National Forest over Memorial Day weekend 2011.
Bigfoot or bear? Pictured is a second impression left on the rear side window of the same truck from the previous slides. According to forensic/law enforcement photographer Mickey Burrow, "What you're seeing is a swipe mark. It looks like a small hand, swiping to the left, leaving another impression, and there's hair within those areas -- you can see where the hair would be."
This footprint was found over Memorial Day weekend, 2011, near Fresno, Calif. by a group of campers who were on a Bigfoot-hunting expedition. The print, measuring approximately 12 inches, was found near a truck where possible DNA evidence was left behind by more than one Bigfoot creature.
This footprint was found in 2008 in the Sierra National Forest near Fresno, Calif.
Thomas Byers snapped this photo of "Bigfoot" along Golden Valley Church Road in Rutherford County on March 22, 2011.
Bill Willard is the leader of a group searching for evidence of a Sasquatch or Bigfoot creature, spotted by, among others, his two sons in Spotsylvania County. He is shown on May 19 in Thornburg, Va., with a plaster cast he made from a suspicious footprint several years ago.
This still frame image from video provided by Bigfoot Global LLC shows what Whitton and Dyer claimed was a Bigfoot or Sasquatch creature in an undisclosed area of a northern Georgia forest in June 2008.
This October 2007 image was taken by an automated camera set up by a hunter in a Pennsylvania forest the previous month. Some said it was a Bigfoot creature; others believed it was just a sick bear.
A preserved skull and hand said to be that of a Yeti or Abominable Snowman is on display at Pangboche monastery, near Mount Everest.
Idaho State University professor Jeffrey Meldrum displays what he said is a cast of a Bigfoot footprint from eastern Washington in September 2006. Some scientists said the school should revoke Meldrum's tenure.
Joedy Cook, director of the Ohio Center for Bigfoot Studies, talks to a visitor to his booth on Oct. 15, 2005, at the Texas Bigfoot Conference in Jefferson, Texas. The event, hosted by the Texas Bigfoot Research Center, drew enthusiasts and researchers of the legendary creature.
Ken Gerhard of Houston, Texas, holds a duplicate plaster cast footprint Oct. 15, 2005, at the Texas Bigfoot Conference. The event, hosted by the Texas Bigfoot Research Center, drew enthusiasts and researchers of the legendary creature.
Josh Gates, host of Syfy TV's "Destination: Truth," holds a plaster cast of what Malaysian ghost hunters said was a Bigfoot footprint in 2006.
Al Hodgson, a volunteer guide at the Willow Creek-China Flat Musuem in California, holds up a plaster cast of an alleged Bigfoot imprint in 2000. The museum houses a collection of research material donated by the estate of Bob Titmus, who spent his life trying to track the creature.
Costume maker Philip Morris, who does not believe the Bigfoot legend, claimed the Patterson-Gimlin film showed a person wearing a gorilla suit that he made.
"The creatures are generally five and a half to seven and a half feet tall, a lot thinner than what most people think of as a Yeti or Bigfoot," said Loren Coleman, founder and director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.
"They're hearty-looking and have multi-colored brownish-black fur, sometimes with a lighter top to their head and patches of white on their arms, which is unique to the Siberian Snowmen."
Coleman, who is the co-author of "The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates," added that the elusive Siberian Snowman is reportedly not as fearful of humans as are his hairy counterparts on other continents.
"They're sometimes seen at the edge of a forest just staring at people and not really considered as wild creatures, compared to some Yeti reports in Nepal where they reportedly attack yaks or sherpas," Coleman told The Huffington Post.
Sightings of the Siberian Snowmen have increased three-fold over the past 20 years, prompting scientists at Moscow's Darwin Museum to speculate that there may be a small population of these creatures.
Igor Burtsev, head of the International Center of Hominology in Moscow -- which investigates so-called snowmen -- told The Voice of Russia radio that "when Homo sapiens started populating the world, it viciously exterminated its closest relative in the hominid family, Homo neanderthalensis."
"Some of the Neanderthals, however, may have survived to this day in some mountainous wooded habitats that are more or less off limits to their arch foes. No clothing on them, no tools in hands and no fire in the household. Only round-the-clock watchfulness for a Homo sapiens around."
While the Darwin Museum invited Coleman to join its Siberian conference and to give a presentation, he declined, because rather than extending to him the professional courtesy of paying for his trip, "they turned around and said, 'Oh, no, we can't afford that!' And they suggested I go to one of the online travel services to get a cheap flight," Coleman said.
Despite that little inconvenience, Coleman said he thinks the museum is doing serious work in the realm of hominology -- the study of unknown hairy bipedal creatures.
Another reason why it's not the most convenient time for Coleman to be trekking through Siberia is that he's in the process of a major expansion of his museum -- the only cryptozoology museum in the world.
"We're going to have enough space now to exhibit more of the evidence, including my collection of 150 footprint casts and other materials from Yeti, Bigfoot and other hominids from around the world," he said.
As scientists search for evidence of the Siberian Snowman in the mountains of Kemerovo, Coleman will have a grand monster re-opening of his museum on Oct. 30 in Portland.