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The Almas, Mongolian for "wild man," is a purported hominid cryptozoological species reputed to inhabit the Caucasus and Pamir Mountains of central Asia, and the Altai Mountains of southern Mongolia. The creature is not currently recognized or cataloged by science. Furthermore, scientists generally reject the possibility that such mega-fauna cryptids exist, because of the improbably large numbers necessary to maintain a breeding population and because climate and food supply issues make their survival in reported habitats unlikely
Almases are typically described as human-like bipedal animals, between five and six and a half feet tall, their bodies covered with reddish-brown hair, with anthropomorphic facial features including a pronounced browridge, flat nose, and a weak chin. Many cryptozoologist researchers believe there is a similarity between these descriptions and modern reconstructions of how Neanderthals might have appeared
Speculation that Almases may be something other than legendary creatures is based on purported eyewitness accounts, alleged footprint finds, and interpretations of long-standing native traditions, which have been anthropologically collected
Sightings recorded in writing go back as far back as the 15th century.
In 1430, Hans Schiltberger recorded his personal observation of these creatures in the journal of his trip to Mongolia as a prisoner of the Mongol Khan. Schiltberger also recorded one of the first European sightings of Przewalski horses. (Manuscript in the Munich Municipal Library, Sign. 1603, Bl. 210)(Shackley, 94). He noted that Almasty are part of the Mongolian and Tibetan apothecary's materia medica, along with thousands of other animals and plants that live today.
British anthropologist Myra Shackley in Still Living? describes Ivan Ivlov's 1963 observation of a family group of Almas. Ivlov, a pediatrician, decided to interview some of the Mongolian children who were his patients, and discovered that many of them had also seen Almases. It seems that neither the Mongol children nor the young Almas were afraid of each other. Ivlov's driver also claimed to have seen them (Shackley, 91).
Myra Shackley and Bernard Heuvelmans have speculated that the Almases are a relict population of Neanderthals, while Loren Coleman suggests surviving specimens of Homo erectus. Others insist they are related to the Yeti of the Himalayas, being closer to apes than to humans. Another explanation is that human-like cryptids are humans with congenital disorders and/or mental retardation and ejected from society.
Another explanation is that they are purely mythological creatures, since no hard evidence (skeletons, specimens, etc.) has been found to date