Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

LINDSAY SELBY: The Chuchunaa

Reports from Russia tell of a creature known locally as the Chuchunaa, which is over 2 m (6/7 feet) tall, clad in deerskin and unable to talk, although it does utter a piercing whistle. A man-eater, the Chuchunaa often steals food from settlements. Observers say that the creature has a protruding brow, long matted hair, a full beard, and walks with its hands hanging below its knees. Soviet scientists speculate that the Chuchunaa represents the last surviving remnant of the Siberian paleoasiatic aborigines that retreated to the upper reaches of the Yana and Indigirka rivers. The last reliable sightings were in the 1950s and this animal may now be extinct. (Anonymous; "Yeti or Wild Man in Siberia?" Nature, 271:603, 1978.)

The Chuchunaa are a type of bigfoot said to inhabit Siberia They are usually described as being 6 or 7 feet tall (2 metres), have broad shoulders and come in a variety of colours, some on the same creature. What makes them different from other hairy hominids is they are often reported as wearing animal skins. As Siberia is extremely cold, one shouldn’t be surprised at this. The Chuchunaa is also called other names including Mirygdy, Mulen, Tjutjuna and in one village they named one Mecheny or 'the marked one.' This particular creature had lighter-coloured arms than the rest of its fur. Many have speculated that they are a relic neanderthal group and represent the last surviving remnant of the Siberian paleo-asiatic hominids that retreated to the upper reaches of the Yana and Indigirka rivers.

Their existence has been taken seriously by the authorities. In 1928 the Soviet Union sent out search parties to gather information on them .

In 1933 Professer P. Dravert called upon the government to make hunting of them illegal on the grounds that all people of the U.S.S.R. deserved equal protection

The Soviet News Agency TASS said specialists at the Institute of Language, Literature and History in Soviet Yakutia, northeastern Siberia, have been evaluating testimony of Siberians who claim they encountered the man-like creature called “chuchunaa”. The Soviet historian and ethnographer G. V. Ksenofontov wrote in his book Urankhai Sakhalar: 'The chuchunaa is a human. He feeds on wild deer and eats the meat raw. They say he tears the skin off the wild deer and wears it, just as we do the hide of a fox. He lives in a lair like a bear. His voice is unpleasant, grating and hoarse. He whistles, frightening people and reindeer. Men come across him very rarely and often see him running away… The chuchunaa’s face is black, and it’s hard to make out the nose and the eyes. He can be seen only in summertime. In winter he is not around.”' (In the Footsteps of the Russian Snowman, by Dmitri Bayanov, 1996. Pyramid Publications )

Yakutia, one of the leading newspapers in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) published in May 2004 a report concerning the protection of the natural world in Yakutia. It had the following paragraph:

'The Screaming of Sendushnyj. Mount Kuorat-Khaja lied opposite the fishing village of Chekurovka 2). On a dangerous steep slope lied the ruins of an aeroplane. Some old people claimed that in 1957 hunters from the surrounding villages killed a Chuchunaa, the snowman. It is said that its body was brought on the Lena river to Yakutsk [capital of Yakutia] and disappeared there. The legend has it that Chuchunaa lived in the mountains of Verchojansk. It caught reindeers, the skins of which it wore. It is further said that upon meeting people, the snowman would scream quite terribly. In the Tundra, this snowman was named Sendushnyj, after ‘sendukha’, an old name of Tundra. Although this legend defeated any commonsense, it refused to die. On the other side of the mountain range, in the areas of Najba 3), some reported of a highly discreet creature that was called Ikki-Mterlljakh, literally meaning ‘two meters tall’. It is claimed that those who were hunting, fishing and/or collecting firewood along the riverbank saw the snowman. It is also reported that as dawn set in, he would enter the village.'

Reuters ran the following report in August 16th 1990:

Soviet KGB border guards were put on a state of maximum alert after a night patrol sighted a creature 2 meters tall with brilliant eyes. The beast, which surprised the guards of the Red Flag border post in the Soviet Far East, resembled the mythical Abominable Snowman, or Yeti. Soon afterwards it was seen trying to climb up to a roof, but eventually retreated to the forest.

Russian researcher Alexei Sitnikov and his team reported a sighting that took place in 1993, while on their way to Lake Tonee. The scientists 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 state of the Russian economy. Their expedition was to search for proof of the possible habitation of a gigantic serpent/ snake in the region. They had barely begun their trek when they 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. Sitnikov said that the creature was only 10 feet (3 metres) away when they saw it, and it was plainly visible. The creature was about 7 feet (2 metres) tall with dark fur but not thick. Its head was somewhat triangular in shape, widening toward its base. It 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.

In December 2002 the Russian newspaper Yakutsk Vechernij (Evening Yakutsk) printed a report of the journey of two journalists on the track of a strange animal. In a village in the Verkhoyansk region, Barylas district, an unknown animal had been caught in a wolf-trap in the middle of March 2002. It was already dead when discovered and described as "like a primate" about the size like a large dog. The whole body, apart from feet and face, was covered in fur. It had a long tail. There are three versions about what happened with the corpse: the teacher Jakob Potapov from the neighboring settlement Borulakh said that the body had been taken to the capital Yakutsk; others claimed that the animal had been torn to pieces by dogs; another version was that "frightened people" had buried the corpse together with the trap. The chief of the Sartan town concil, Sergej Slepzov, talked about another similar case 6 months earlier. A young man, Albert Slepzov, had found a dead unknown animal similar to an ape. It was suggested that it could be a Chuchunaa. Some local people who had seen the dead animal called it Aabasi kiila. The reporter Elena Tikhonova and the photographer Michael Kotschetov contacted the relatives of Albert Slepzov in the settlement Badagaj. They confirmed that Slepzov had found a strange animal but were unable to say what happened with the corpse.

This is just a selection of reports of the creature. So once again only eyewitness testimonies and no physical evidence. Some of the eyewitnesses were scientists and local people who would recognise a known animal, you would think. There are a few scientists that believe a relic neanderthal group or groups exist today in remote regions. The fact that this creature wears skins could be an indication of this. Others dispute the theory on the grounds that neanderthals were only at their greatest height 5 and a half feet tall (1.7 metres) and not as tall as the Chuchunaa are reported to be. This of course does not take into account that the creatures may have evolved over the last 10,000 years or interbred with humans and grown taller. If the financial position changes in Russia, more expeditions may be funded, one can only hope. In such a remote region, one would need to be well funded and prepared to be able to stay for long periods of time, to collect testimonies and if possible, physical evidence.



Octopus Found In Itasca County, Minnesota. The stories of freshwater octopi surface every few years but are nearly always proven to be hoaxes. On this occasion, the Department of Natural Resources says it's a salt water octopus species, which pretty well nips the story in the bud from the start. And to make things worse, I cannot work out how to embed the video :(


After the horrid news that we posted yesterday, it is nice to report that the Endler's live-bearers (Poecilia wingei) have given birth, meaning that we now have thriving colonies of seven different species of live-bearing fish, and with the news that there is another charity live-bearer auction at the beginning of June in Redditch, then that number is likely to be increased soon.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1970 Thor Heyerdahl set sail from Morocco, across the Atlantic in a boat made out of papyrus, based on ancient Egyptian designs, called Ra II. He made it as far as Barbados, thus proving that it was technically possible for ancient boat builders to have crossed the Atlantic.

And now, the news:

Ruff Love: Yorkshire Terriers Wed In Brazil
Wild Colorado: The beavers are back
Outdoor tales: A beaver in a city cemetery
Sheep Or Pig? Curly Coat Causes Confusion

‘Wooly’ never; those are unusual pigs.