G.K.Panchenko. The catalogue of the monsters. ╠oscow, "OLMA-PRESS Ex-libris" Publishers, 2002, 383 p. (In Russian)


Despite of the so unscientific title, this book by one of the most active participants of cryptozoological researches in the CIS territory and educated biologist is an attempt of scientific representation of some unknown animals in popular form.

The book consists of two parts. First of them tells mainly about unknown hominoids, but the first chapter of this part is devoted to general problems of cryptozoology. The author emphasizes, that there are no unknown animals at all - they are unfamiliar to science, but are known to many people who are not scientists. Precisely, they are unfamiliar to European science, while Chinese, Tibetan, Arabian, and other scientists knew and described many of them a long time ago. G.Panchenko shows with numerous examples, that number of findings in zoology does not lessen now in comparison with the past times, and professional zoologists extremely seldom initiate them. Usually new animals are delivered to zoologists by the local or native inhabitants and other persons who spent much time in nature.

In the next chapter the author chronicles a history of the problem of hominoids. He attracts attention here to the narrow-known to us facts about captured and observed "wild peoples" in medieval Europe, and discusses that some museums could keep bones and other remnants, suitable to research by modern methods, till now. The chapter ends with the tragic history of B.F.Porshnev, who created the base of the "troglodyte" theory.

In the following two chapters G.Panchenko writes about the way of life and ecology of Caucasian hominoids. They are mainly based on materials received by J.-M.Kofman in her numerous expeditions. The majority of them is published for the first time. As a whole they consist a bright picture of coexistence between hominoids and modern men in some regions of Caucasus, that proceeds till the present time. But it is out of interests of all sciences about the human and fauna.

The final chapter of the first part has the playful title "Almasty and karate". In it the author makes an attempt to answer a most serious question, including favorite one by the skeptics, - how this animal which has no large fangs or claws survives among numerous predators? How it can protect itself and get meat for food? Having rather small number of observations with aggressive behavior of almasty, G.Panchenko shows that the hand of hominoid (as well as that of a man) can be more effective instrument of protection and attack, than teeth and claws. Keeping an attacking animal on safe distance from vulnerable parts of the body by arms, it is possible to do terrible impacts by hands, and clasping with strong hominoid fingers for enemy's body allows literally to break off the foe.

The second part of the book tells about others cryptozoids. It opens by the chapter about large unknown snakes and others reptiles. There are stories from southern areas of CIS about the thick snakes of five and more meters long. They sometimes were killed, examined by witnesses and measured. They are known to the local inhabitants, but not to the scientists.

The following chapter presents the story about the beast from Gevodan in the center of France (I could not identify the place on the modern map - M.T.). The attacks on the people by the huge unknown beast occurred during 1760-th. They were recorded, as up to a hundred citizens lost their lives. Then the author passes to a peace animal - the Steller cow. He presents a number of observations that allow to hope, that in wild places of Pacific Siberia coast these animals still could be preserved. In the following short chapter he examines an opportunity of preservation in Northern and Central Asia ancient bull-like animals. Then the stories about unknown species of whales, Siberian mammoth, feline and bears follow.

This interesting and useful book ends with recommendations by J.-M.Kofman on questioning about cryptozoological objects, and also on actions that are necessary to fulfil in the case that a corpse of hominoid would be found.