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Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Zana's Child and Old Neanderthal Crosses

Above right, Zana the Wild Woman and at right, photo said to be of her son Khvit. Below, Myra Shackley's photo of Igor Burtsev with the skull of Khvit. All of these photos are from Igor Burtsev, reprinted by permission. Below Igor are two views of the skull.

There was some controversy about theskull of Khvit, allegedly the son of a local man and Zana, a captive Wild Woman in the area of the Caucasus mountains in the late 1800s. There were some statements that the skull had some Neanderthal traits, and against this the skull was said to look like n Australoid (Australian Aboriginal) I could tell at once that certain specific features of the skull were Neanderthaloid and nothing like an Australian Aboriginal. Among these are the flattened vault with a low rise in back and low forehead, a rounded transverse section of the cranium, large rounded eye sockets and arched brow ridges above them, and the specific type of mandible with an elongated and backward-slantinting ramus in back (In many Neanderthals this elongation makes a considerable gap between the last molar tooth and the ascending ramus in the back of the jaw) Although the skull overall is of the modern human type, it has a distinctive Neanderthal appearance, including the view from in front and face-on.
It has been known for a long time that several of the earliest modern human skulls from the Mid-East had the look of Neanderthals crossed with regular human beings, and the example usually shown is the skull number 5 found at the excavation of the Skhul cave (Cave of the goat) in what was then Palestine. I would say Khvit was comparable to these Skhul crossbreeds in many ways. These men of the Skhul cave were tall, as big as Cro-Magnons and over six feet tall. It is thought that their increased height came about because some of the Out of Africa humans were also thought to be very tall, along the lines of the modern Watusi. 
Incidentally one of the early types of Paleo-Indians had very large skulls and were identified by Neumann as Otamids. I have spoken of them before because their skulls had a mixture of Neanderthal and CroMagnon (Indian) features and they are frequently cited in stories of "Giants found in mound burials". They were the common type all over much of North America and even parts of South America until they were displaced and absorbed by more recent populations. But these skulls also have many of the same traits of Skhul and Khvit's skull. in the news article below a date of 35000 years old for the level of the burial had been suggested for this case, but the skull type persisted for a long time until very recently in many parts of the United States.

Petra co Oase "Earliest modern human in Europe" and  Shanidar Neanderthal from Mid-East
As you can see the overall form of the outline is much the same and the two are doubtless related through some degree of intermixing. Below, the Shanidar skull from face-on view.
Actual anthropologial illustration of an Australian aboriginal's skull. The braincase is characteristically high and narrow, with a comparatively low and broad face. The top of the skull has a sort of a ridge along the top.The lower jaw does not have that peculiar elongation and slant to the ramus. Although the brow ridges are developed, both the brow ridges and the eye sockets are of the typical "Modern" form, as opposed to the Neanderthals where the eye sockets tend to be distinctively rounded and the brow ridges arched over them. (Compare the Shanidar skull above the two views of the Australian Aboriginal skull.) Neither Khvit's skull nor the Skhul skull had anything of the typical Australoid abut the,. Otamid skulls are also called "Australoid" in the literature and the use of the term is mistaken in those cases also.
Below, Night Cam "Bigfoot" photo from a facebook group clearly showing a creature with much the same kind of cranium as Khvit and the Skhul types. And below that, the reconstructions by Harvey Pratt also show the same type of head.
Larry Surface, Ohio Night Cam BF photo

Harvey Pratt Forensic Artist drawing of Eastern Bigfoot type
Pennsylvania BF Track resembling Neanderthal tracks but much larger.
Also from a Facebook discussion group about Bigfoot.

Russian publications listing for Igor Burtsev's notice on Khvit's Skull:


  1. Khwit's appearence in life was that of a Basic White crossed with an Armenoid, and that skull is that of a Basic White (a normal robust Caucasian).

    Dale, do you have a clearer picture of Neumann's Otamids?

  2. Very interesting! Do you think that the DNA results of Zana and Khvit that had shown that they had Homo sapien sapiens DNA was simply due to the fact that they were Homo sapien sapiens and Homo sapien neanderthalensis crosses? Did the geneticists check both paternal DNA sources?

  3. You bring up a problem that has not really been addressed so far. The theoretical classification only allows one thing or the other, it does not allow for halfway stations. If there is a halfway station between Neanderthals and moderns, the experts are not about to erect a new subspecies for that. They are going to say the one thing or the other.

    For my part, I do not go for taxonomically valid subspecies of any type. I conceive of the subspecies level as being much more fluid and ill-defined. But beyond the recognition of subspecies in the first place we have got to have some sort of agreement as to exactly how much genetic difference defines a species, and then if we want to make an issue of it, how much genetic differences would define a subspecies. There is far from a general agreement about that at this time.

    But the easy answer is, there are only so many boxes allowed and the experts have got to use only one at a time.

  4. Faintsmile, of course you are correct as to the man in the photo, but actually I have my doubts as to whether the photo actually belongs with the skull. The features do not match up right. I suspect the photograph is actually of another person. In particular the photograph shows a person with a higher forehead and a higher roof to the braincase.

    I have had an ongoing discussion about Neumann's Otamids for some time now and at this time all I have otherwise are some drawings of skulls rather than photos. I DO have very full sets of the measurements of several skulls (the average measurements of about 15 of the skulls), and when I wrote of them in a human osteology paper I did in college containing these average measurements, the professor made a note in the margin off to one side "This sounds very Neanderthaloid" when I was enumerating the traits of the jaws and teeth. In red ink.

    1. Have you asked Meldrum's opinion of whether the skull matches the man in the photo? I agree the man's forehead doesn't properly fit with the skull, but the skull is Basic White anyway IMO. I would immediately recognise the skull as a Basic White Caucasian, never mind modern human. It looks Vovnigy-Vedbaek to me, a Europeoid type derived from the Magdalenian toolmakers.

      Oase 1 has very large teeth, a Denisovan trait shared also with Minatogawa I, which would otherwise represent a true anatomical modern of Jomon-Ainu stock if not for the relatively small cranial capacity.

      OTOH Otamid is a Jomon-like type, right? The pre-Mongoloid, pre-Sinodont.populations of eastern North America.

  5. OK, here is what physical anthropologist FivePercenter told me.

    "The man in the picture is much younger than the skull. The skull has not upper dentition and is missing half his lower dentition. If these teeth projected slightly (procumbantcy) this would go a long way to making the lips as full as in the picture but they may have been that way anyway. We need a profile view to assess the forehead but as you say it looks small in the skull. I have seen a picture of Zana on the internet, googling "Zana" and then flipping to images. My computer skills are very poor but I will try to do this and post the picture. To do so I must leave the forum."

  6. The key points differentiating the photograph from the skull are indeed that the top of the head and forehead are much lower and there is no need to insist on looking at any other views: it is plain enough full-face-on. The discussion of the dentition is irrelevant when the height of the vault is in question.

    Oase, the one skull compared to the Shanidar skull is supposedly the oldest modern skull found in Europe, and it has clear indicators of being related in that the general outline is much the same. Therefore it is both Basal Caucasian AND Part-Neanderthal, simultaneoudsly. You will find that several writers in Anthropology refer to modern Europeans as being partly descended from Neanderthals, Carleton Coon being one of those writers. You are using a racial classification scheme that is not universally recognised yourself; and guessing what Otamid would be without knowing anything about the skulls you are talking about is a very hazardous proceedure. To answer your question, NO, the skulls have nothing to do with Jomon skulls and are much larger, and the teeth and jaws differ in significant ways, those ways being inclined to be more like the Neanderthals. And Denisovans and European Neanderthals turn out to be extremes in a genetic cline which is connected by several genetically intermediate finds from geographically intermediate stations, that information has been printed on this blog before. They are within the same species, that species being presumably Homo sapiens, since both Denisovans and Neanderthals interbred with modern human beings.

    As a matter of curiousity, doed Dr Jeff Meldrum have any especial backgroungd in forensic reconstruction from human skulls?


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