Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
James Franco Will Direct Film Based on Aziah "Zola" Wells' 148-Tweet Narrative That Went Viral James Franco Will Direct Film Based on Aziah "Zola" Wells' 148-Tweet Narrative That Went Viral Regarding 'Song of the South' – The Film That Disney Doesn’t Want You to See Regarding 'Song of the South' – The Film That Disney Doesn’t Want You to See Watch Mekhi Phifer in Trailer for "First-Person Shooter" Zombie Thriller, 'Pandemic' Watch Mekhi Phifer in Trailer for "First-Person Shooter" Zombie Thriller, 'Pandemic' HBO Sets April Premiere Date for 'Confirmation' HBO Sets April Premiere Date for 'Confirmation' Watch the Electrifying First Trailer for Don Cheadle's 'Miles Ahead' Watch the Electrifying First Trailer for Don Cheadle's 'Miles Ahead' Watch: Tyler Perry Previews 'The Passion' 2-Hour Musical Event in New Orleans Watch: Tyler Perry Previews 'The Passion' 2-Hour Musical Event in New Orleans Before Nate Parker's Nat Turner Film Is Released, Get Prepped By Watching Charles Burnett's 2003 Documentary Before Nate Parker's Nat Turner Film Is Released, Get Prepped By Watching Charles Burnett's 2003 Documentary There Is a Precedent for the "DuVernay Test" to Consider... There Is a Precedent for the "DuVernay Test" to Consider... Idris Elba Makes SAG Awards History + Viola Davis, Uzo Aduba, Queen Latifah Collect Trophies Idris Elba Makes SAG Awards History + Viola Davis, Uzo Aduba, Queen Latifah Collect Trophies Ryan Coogler to Deliver Prestigious University of Chicago Kent Lecture Feb. 9 Ryan Coogler to Deliver Prestigious University of Chicago Kent Lecture Feb. 9 First-Look at David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike in Amma Asante's 'A United Kingdom' First-Look at David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike in Amma Asante's 'A United Kingdom' Poster: Mike Epps, Paul Mooney, Charlie Murphy Comedy-Thriller 'Meet the Blacks' Poster: Mike Epps, Paul Mooney, Charlie Murphy Comedy-Thriller 'Meet the Blacks' Watch: OWN Previews New Primetime Series 'It's Not You, It's Men' (Tyrese Gibson & Rev Run Host) Watch: OWN Previews New Primetime Series 'It's Not You, It's Men' (Tyrese Gibson & Rev Run Host) First Look at Nate Parker's Nat Turner Film, 'The Birth of a Nation' First Look at Nate Parker's Nat Turner Film, 'The Birth of a Nation' TV One Aims to Change the Reality Genre with New Series, 'The Next 15' TV One Aims to Change the Reality Genre with New Series, 'The Next 15' Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton Is Heading to TV Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton Is Heading to TV Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Denzel Washington Reveals Daughter Is In 'Django Unchained' + Roles He Regrets Rejecting Denzel Washington Reveals Daughter Is In 'Django Unchained' + Roles He Regrets Rejecting

New Documentary Asks Whether Russia's 'Bigfoot' Was Actually An African Slave

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act November 1, 2013 at 12:20PM

New Documentary Asks Whether Russia's 'Bigfoot" Was Actually An African Slave
4
Bigfoot

A new documentary series that will air on Channel 4 in the UK on Sunday evening, titled Bigfoot Files, will follow a global quest to unlock what the network calls the real story behind the Bigfoot legend. 


I'm glad that I read up on the documentary, really just out of curiosity, because I learned that, within it will be discussions of what I think is a worth-sharing report by British geneticist, Bryan Sykes, Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Oxford (he recently found the DNA key that could answer the mystery of the ‘Yeti’).

In the film, Sykes claims that he's solved the mystery of Russia’s very own Bigfoot, which they've named "Zana" - a so-called "wild woman" or "Almasty" who Russians believe was captured in the late 19th century in southern Russia.

After carrying out DNA tests on saliva samples taken from descendants of "Zana," Professor Sykes’ research has determined that Zana's ancestry was "100% Sub-Saharan African" and that she was most likely a slave brought to the region by the then ruling Ottomans. 

At least, that's what Sykes and his DNA research are claiming.

The existence of "Zana" is foreign to me; this is the first time I'm hearing about her, and so Sykes' claims are news to me as well.

Some further research revealed that "Zana" is believed to have been "captured" in a remote part of Russia, in the 1870s, and was then held in captivity for some two decades by a local landowner.

As for how she arrived in the region, here's Sykes' explanation: The most obvious solution that springs to mind is that Zana or her ancestors were brought from Africa to Abkhazia as slaves, when it was part of the slave trading Ottoman Empire, to work as servants or labourers.” 

Apparently, while slavery was ended by the Russians when they took over the region in the late 1850s, some Africans remained behind, and the suggestion is that Zana was one of them, who ended up living in anonymity in the forest, which is where she would eventually be seen, creating the legend.

Channel 4 adds that she is even believed to have mothered four children with different local men.

Here's more:

Russia's 'Almasty Hunters' have been obsessed with her story for over half a century and have always believed that Zana could be a surviving Neanderthal, the human-like species that is thought to have died out tens of thousands of years ago. To answer the riddle and establish what species she belonged to, Professor Sykes has tested samples from six of Zana's living descendants. He has also recovered DNA from a tooth taken from the skull of one of her sons, Khwit. Such work is highly specialized and Sykes was the first geneticist ever to extract DNA from ancient bone. The results are complex and fascinating. First, they show that Zana was, in fact, no more Neanderthal than many of the rest of modern humans. When the Neanderthal genome was sequenced in 2010 it became clear that Europeans and Asians contain around 2 to 4% of Neanderthal DNA; almost certainly the result of interbreeding. But the big surprise in Sykes' results was that Zana's DNA is not Caucasian at all, but African. Khwit's tooth sample confirms her maternal African ancestry and the saliva tests on the six living descendants show that they all contain African DNA in the right proportions for Zana to have been genetically 100% sub-Saharan African. 

Sykes adds that there's a possibility that "Zana" could be a remnant of an earlier migration out of Africa, perhaps tens of thousands, of years ago. 

This is all a theory at this stage of his research, and the Professor says that he plans to continue to study all the evidence much further before reaching his final conclusions. 

But "Zana’s" story will be featured in Bigfoot Files, which airs on Channel 4 this Sunday, November 3rd at 8pm. 

It'll likely make its way online sometime after, so the rest of the world can watch it. 

This is all foreign to me, so I'll leave the informed commentary to those of you who know a lot more about this than I do. I frankly don't even know what to think of/feel about any of it, but it's triggered an interest in me, so I'll be researching further.

It'll be great to get some feedback from our UK readers after it airs.

Feel free to chime in.


Shadow & ActNewsletter