In: "Leshy: ecology, physiology, genetics", Saint Petersburg, 1996,
edited by Dr.V.B.Sapunov

The Report read at conference "Cryptozoology and ecology
of rare animals", Leningrad, October, 9-12, 1990.


Finding of a Tooth of an Unknown Primate

Rostislav Danov, the zoologist

From June till October I97I the Leningrad expedition surveyed caves, niches, and other natural hidings along rivers Malka, Kich-Malka, Hasaut, Musht to the northeast of Elbrus. The aim was detection of materials on relic hominoids, or Leshys in Russian. At 2I July I97I while examining a small cave located on the second river terrace on the left bank of Eretsuko stream (that flow in Kich-Malka river) I have found out a primate-type tooth. The tooth was on depth of IO cm in a thin layer of ground and wood fire ashes, including bones of a ram subjected to fire. The tooth had not marks of thermal exposing. His appearance showed it was contemporary. The age of the layer where it had been found out was some decades at maximum.

The position of the finding near entry and arch of the cave allowed to assume that it was brought there by rain waters from the upper slope. However, careful inspection and surfing carried out in I97I - I972 seasons gave no results.

The found tooth had been showed for definition to anthropologists M.I.Uryson and V.P.Jakimov (Institute of anthropology of the Moscow State University), odontologist A.A.Zubov (Institute of ethnography), to paleontologists K.K.Flerov and B.A.Trofimov (Institute of Paleontology, Academy of sciences (AS) of the USSR), to zoologist N.K.Vereshchagin (Zoological institute). Comparison of the finding with collections of domestic animals (Museum of Veterinary academy) and collections of fossils in Paleontologic museum of AS of the USSR also had been made.

The examinations came to the following:

- The tooth is a canine of the low mammal jaw.

- It is not pathological or changed tooth of the human.

- It was not possible to define the tooth to any of known living or fossil animals.

- The tooth does not belong to species of Hominid family.

- The tooth does not belong to Gigantopithecus.

- The top of the tooth strongly bent aside where it ground off. It proceeded farther for 3 - 5 mm (A.A.Zubov).

All experts, except N.K.Vereshchagin, came to the conclusion, that the tooth belongs to a primate. Vereshchagin the known expert on fossil fauna of Caucasus took following position: As the tooth is found on Caucasus and looks fresh, it cannot belong to a primate because primates are not present on Caucasus and they cannot be. The tooth does not belong to modern monkeys held in Sukhumi breeding. However, N.K.Vereshchagin could not put forward the version that explains what animal can have such tooth.

It was accepted as a working hypothesis, that the tooth belongs to an unknown large primate that lived on Northern Caucasus during modern time.

In the further text it will be designated as "tooth X".

The character of grinding, the form of tooth surface and bifurcation of its roots we determined that the tooth X is a canine of the low jaw.

In vertical norm (norm is the name for position at which a tooth looks by top to the researcher) there is significant bend of a vestibular surface (the surface turned to lip, in contrast to lingual surface that turned to tongue). The curvature has clearly defined asymmetry. It is much more indicated on the mezial side and decreases to distal side. Thus, the curvature of enamel allows to point out side of the jaw on which the tooth had place. In this case it was the right canine of the low jaw (surface of a tooth that looks ahead is referred as medial, and opposite, turned to behind tooth - as distal).

The low canines has the highest frequency of root bifurcation among cutters and canines. There are cases when root of the low canine is split on two independent roots of different sizes. A lingual root usually is longer that a vestibular one.

The low canine touch the upper in such a way that its distal cutting edge and close areas of vestibular surface receive maximal pressure at biting. The result of it is specific grinding that delete all distal edge and partly cover vestibular surface (Fig. 1).

Measurements of the tooth allow to compare it with teeth of modern and fossil primates. All measurements were made in accordance with A.A.Zubov's "Odontology. A technique of anthropological researches", the Science Publishers, Moscow, 1968, in Russian.

We used the following definitions:

Width of the crown - mezio-distal diameter (MD).

Thickness of the crown - vestibul-lingual diameter (VL).

The crown module - a half-sum of mezio-distal and vestibul-lingual crown diameters: (MD + VL)/2.

The crown massiveness - the product MD by VL.

The crown index - percentage VL to MD: VL/MD*100%.

The Index of a root: (length of a root)/VL*100%

Results of measurements are presented in Table 1.

The attention should be paid to rather small length of the root with significant thickness of crown (index). This index is significantly variable in population of the modern humans. It is possible, that X can be a tooth of a female exemplar.


Table 1. Canine low jaw dimensions, mm

Width of the crown MD
Thickness of the crown VL
Crown length
Neck diameter
Length of root
The crown module
The crown massiveness
The crown index
The Index of the root

Gorilla male

Tooth X


Comment: crown length for tooth = (17) is given due to reconstructed unground form by A.A.Zubov (3 - 5 mm upwards and aside).

Table 2 gives representation about position of the tooth X among fossiled and living primates. Unfortunately, it was possible to find the data for the low canines for gorilla only. Therefore we had to compare upper canines with low. The example of gorilla shows that upper canines are more powerful than low ones. In any case, the tooth X parameters surpass those for teeth of all hominids.


Table 2.Crown modules for the top jaw canines.

Tooth X




13,5(low canine)

10,5(low canine)

Method described in: J.J.Roginsky, Problems of anthropo-origine, Moscow, The Higher school Publ., I969.


In table 3 we compare crown massiveness. As well as in the previous case, I had data for upper canines only. However, here I could use extrapolation. I found that modern human and gorilla have identical character of canine diameters for upper and low jaws. Namely, MD of the upper canine equals MD of the low canine plus 3.3, VL of the upper canine equals VL the low canine plus 3.3 also. Taking this for definition of diameter for the top canine corresponding to the tooth X I had received:

MD of tooth X, a canine of the low jaw = 9, MD of the upper canine 9+3=12,

VL of tooth X = 12, VL of the upper canine 12 + 3 =15.

Product MD by VL for the hypothetical upper canine will be I80.


Table 3.Crown Massiveness of upper canines

Tooth X



Comparing the aforesaid with numerous observations from Northern Caucasus, we can assume existence a large humanlike primate on Caucasus at our time. Describing meetings with wild hairy ortho-wolking primate, the witnesses marked such details as, for example, "they have larger teeth than human. The four front teeth are very big and canines are about those of dogs - near four cm. (In 7-th collection of information materials of the Commission on studying a problem of the snow man, manuscript).

This form could grow out from large primates that developed bypedalism without using work instruments. So they have kept powerful canines. In this case the branch to modern ortho-walking primates was separated from the common trunk before it had devided on pogids and hominids.


Fig.1 Tooth X

1. Distal surface.
2. Lingual surface.
3. Mezial surface.
4. Vestibular surface.
5. Vertical surface.

Translation by M.Trachtengerts