Zana the Ape Woman

In 1850, a group of hunters were prowling the Ochamchir region of Georgia in Russia when they were astonished by the sight of a young female wild woman. She looked somewhat human, but also had many ape-like features. With great difficulty, they captured the woman and brought her to civilization for study where they named her Zana. Zana didn't look quite human either. Unlike other feral captures, which were obviously human in appearance, she had thick arms, legs and fingers, a massive bosom and was covered with dark hair. More primitive still was her behavior, which was so vicious that she had to be kept caged for the first few years of her captivity.

The details of her life in the Russian village are sketchy, but apparently Zana's behavior mellowed after a few years and she was taught to perform such domestic tasks as grinding corn. It was said that she had a remarkable tolerance for the cold and disliked being in a heated room.

Although Zana never learned to communicate through human speech, she obviously had developed social abilities since she gave birth to several children sired by various human fathers. How these pregnancies came about exactly is unclear, but it is known that Zana accidentally killed at least one of her children by trying to bathe it in a cold river. Apparently, she thought her offspring had the same tolerance to cold as she did.

The father, meanwhile, gave away four of the surviving children to local families, for their protection. Unlike their mother, the children did learn to speak and they eventually had children of their own. The two boys, Dzhanda and Khwit Genaba (born 1878 and 1884), and the two girls, Kodzhanar and Gamasa Genaba (born 1880 and 1882), were assimilated into normal society, married, and had families of their own.

The complex of human features, inherited from his father, was dominant in them and overruled the mother's line of descent. Khwit (also spelled Kvit), who died at the age of 65 or 70, was described by his fellow-villagers as little different from the human norm, except for certain small divergences. Khwit was powerfully built, had dark skin, but he inherited scarcely anything from Zana's facial appearance. He was extremely strong, difficult to deal with and quick to pick a fight. In fact, he lost his right hand after one of the many fights he had with his fellow-villagers, but his left hand sufficed him to mow and do other work on a collective farm, and even climb trees. When old, he moved to the town of Tkvarcheli where he eventually died, but he was taken back for burial at Tkhina.

Zana the Ape Woman

Zana herself died in 1890. One of her sons Khwit died in 1954. There were rumours that his father was in fact Edgi Genaba himself, but in the census he was put down under a family-name of Sabekia. It is significant that Zana was buried in the family cemetery of the Genabas, and that the two youngest children of Zana were brought up by Genaba's wife. Her grandchildren, according to researchers, had dark skin, negroid features and were extraordinarily strong.

The skull of Khwit is still extant, and was examined by Dr. Grover Krantz in the early 1990s. He pronounced it to be entirely modern, with no Neanderthal features at all. If Krantz's verdict on the skull is correct, and the skull itself is indeed that of Zana's son, it would indicate that Zana may have been a member of an isolated hunter gatherer tribe so culturally different from her captors' society as to make Zana seem non-human to them, even though she was indeed a modern human. Another account by Russian anthropologist M.A.Kolodieva described the skull as significantly different from the normal males from Abkhazia: the skull "approaches closest the Neolithic Vovnigi II skulls of the fossil series".


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Written By Tripzibit on Apr 2, 2013 | 05:05

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