Michael Trachtengerts


Krao: human or hominoid?


The missed Darwin's "missing link"

Here I present to reader review of Krao's phenomenon. Krao was the name of a strange girl that appeared in the Royal Aquarium, Westminster, in 1883. Her whole body was covered by hair. Some features of apes were seen in her face and body. She was presented in the Aquarium as Darwin's missing link in evolution from ape to human. She was examined also by some physicians and naturalists who decided that it is a rear case of hypertrichosis, and the story was forgotten or incorrectly interpreted. It was sometimes mentioned among human curiosities and freaks. I show that Krao was a living being of some kind of unknown hominoid, which was very close to human, i.e. one of the "missing links" in last steps in human evolution, that was not understood correctly by scientists. This attention to the Krao's phenomenon is the same till now.


Appearance in London

In 1883 London was excited by show in Royal Aquarium, Westminster, of a little girl. The performance was advertised as "A Living Proof of Darwin's Theory of the Descent of Man". Her body was covered by dense hair. They said that she had been found in woods of Laos. Articles in press wrote that she has some characteristics of monkeys. Some scientists thought that she represented a "missing link" in Darwin's theory. Others claimed that she demonstrated simply a rare case of atavistic hairiness, well known to science, and all the rest parts of the child are quite usual. Some contradictory stories were told about parents of the child. A letter to editor appeared in scientific magazines Nature (Resident 1883) which affirmed that parents of the girl were Siamese and lived in Bangkok. Some publications claimed that she was caught in the woods of Burma.

The strange girl was exhibited in Aquarium by entrepreneur known with pseudonym Guillermo A. Farini. He was a wide known showman who often exposed curious living beings. Some of them attracted scientific interest as concerned to development of nature. He had acquainted public with live gorilla, with giant peoples from Africa and other specimens of the various races of mankind. Farini wished new success by unique demonstrations of hairy people who, he knew, lived in deep jungles of Indochina peninsula. Farini supposed that show of real hairy savages will be more attractive to spectators, than common people with atavistic hairiness, such as widely familiar then Julia Pastrana. He was determined to bring some of them to England from Siam in spite of great expense. In 1881 Farini offered to Carl Bock, the famous traveler in Indo-China, to capture a "hairy man", or a "man-monkey". The Carl Bock's nationality is not clear. He was born in Copenhagen in 1849. He was mostly named as Norwegian, but also as Swedish and as a German officer.

Carl Bock agreed and soon become convinced that such peoples really existed. At court of the King of Burma there was a family of hairy peoples that were kept for amusement. Bock tried in every way to get one. He offered a hundred thousand dollars (huge sum at the time) for any of them, but the suggestion was refused.

So, when C. Bock had known that an expedition leading by anthropologist Professor George G. Shelly is ready to go to Laos, then vassal of Burma Kingdom, also called Siam.

Shelly and Bock met early in 1882 at Singapore. Their first expedition was to Rumbo in Malay Peninsula from where came reports about hairy race. The race was called Jacoons. Bock and Shelly did not find them. Then they went to Bangkok, the capital of Siam.

It was happened that there Bock had cured Prime Minister of Siam of a malignant illness. He helped them. When the expedition aimed to Laos it was supplied with an escort, twenty elephants, and letters to the King of Laos. After four months of journey by land and by water they reached Kjang-Kjang, the former capital of Laos.

After the arrival to Laos travelers have learned that wild hairy peoples really live in local woods. In some tribes of head hunters and cannibals knew about them well enough.

The following part of the new travel was told by Professor George G. Shelly in interview to "Philadelphia Times". He thought that there was a distinct race of people that live in trees. In Laos, then dependency of Siam, they were called Krao-Moniek that means "man-monkey". The region where they live was not explored enough. It was most probable for an intruder to dye of malarial fever. It was very swampy and inhabited only by wild men who lived in trees, by elephants, and by snakes. The people escape in trees the snakes and the wet ground. They weave branches of two close trees and build nuts therein.

G. Shelly pointed out that climbing the trees they did not grasp the trunk with their legs as humans do, but they used their toes like monkeys. They did not use fire. They ate fish, wild rice and the kind of green coconut. A heavy stick was their only weapon.

Receiving the letter from King of Siam, The King of Laos gave expedition local guides, fresh elephants, and guards of ten native soldiers. They were armed with spears, bows, and poisoned arrows. After several weeks of following journey they came to the swamps where the hairy people lived.

At first the travelers saw many huts in the branches of trees but without hairy peoples. They were alert and smelt hunters on a distance. At last in presence of Shelly the warriors surrounded a family consisting of a man, female, and child at their meal. They were captured with little resistance. The child only scratched and bit like a monkey. They all were covered by hair and without any clothing. The expedition took them all to Kjang-Kjang.

When time came to leave Laos the King refused permission for the woman to leave his country. He had superstition that it would bring him bad luck. When divided from the child the mother showed little emotions. The expedition with the hairy man and child started a long way back for Bangkok. During the journey in some place they were struck by cholera affection. The hairy father and three soldiers died. Carl Bock was very near to death. Bock made photograph of the child's father before his death. He described that the father was completely enveloped in a dense hair like an anthropoid.

Anthropologist A. Keane wrote (Keane 1983) about him:

He was "completely covered with a thick, hairy coat, exactly like that of the anthropoid apes. On his face not only had he a heavy, bushy beard. Two long arms and the rounded stomach also proclaimed his close alliance to the monkey form, while his power of speech and his intelligence were so far developed that before his death he was able to utter a few words in Malay."

The photo made presumably by camera-obscure was published in Farini's & Bock's pamphlet of the show in Aquarium.

Fig.1 The Krao's father


Looking at father's picture I can not agree with the description of the creature made by A. Keane. He looks quite nearer to humans than to known living anthropoids. Here we see a typical case, when an image tells more appropriately about subject of a research than verbal descriptions. I would like to note that neither the body, nor the skeleton or skull of the probable "missing link" exemplar was taken for further examination to scientists. As to Krao's mother, nobody paid her any attention and no description or photograph of her was made.

After all troubles of the journey they landed with the child in England in October 1882. According to her teeth the child was about 7-8 years old.


Main features of Krao

The girl was named Krao among people because her parents warned her by this cry in the woods when hunters tried to seize the family.

Professor George Shelly made description of Krao's peculiarities to journalists in interview to newspaper "Philadelphia Times":

"Every part of her body is covered with hair, except her palms and soles. The hair on her forearms grows upward, that on her back grows inward towards the spine and will form a sort of mane, as her father and mother had, when she grows older. Her forehead is covered with thick black hair about three eighths of an inch long. The hair of her forehead is entirely distinct from the hair on her head. Her hands and feet, though entirely human in shape, have the prehensible qualities of the monkey hand. She has thirteen dorsal vertebrae and thirteen pairs of ribs, like the chimpanzee, while we have only twelve. And she has pouches in her mouth, in which she carries nuts and other food like the apes".

A gentleman on the interview said:

I am prepared to swallow the whole story, except the pouches in the mouth.

Professor Shelly went in other room and soon returned with Krao. All could see pouches in the mouth with filbert nut in each. At end of the interview the child signed some photographs of herself as presents and talked intelligently with participants.


Fig.2. , about 9 years old, with the tutor.


In the same interview Professor Shelly said that the child had been examined by prominent scientists Professor Virchow of Berlin University, Professors Kirchoff and Welcker of Halle University, Professor Haeckel of Jena, Professor Lucae of Frankfort-on-the-Main, and many other scientists, and much was written about her in the medical and scientific journals. They mentioned some described features of Krao. She was called both the "missing link" between man and the ape, and "human monkey" also. But she seemed gentle and affectionate, though she shot angry looks around and her lips protruded out like chimpanzee's when offended.

The main majority named the case as rare but nevertheless a familiar diagnosis hypertrichoses of a normal person without considering morphological features of Krao on the whole. AntiDarwinistic moods prevailed in that times. The supporter of careful studying of Krao from human origin viewpoint was anthropologist Dr. A.N. Keane. He wrote in leading scientific magazine Nature (Keane 1883) that there was also a possibility that unknown human race was found, despite he named Krao Human Monkey in title of the paper. A. Keane presented rather complete description of Krao's morphology, indicating her abnormal peculiarities.

Her head was adorned with thick deep black and rather coarse hair down to the bushy eyebrows. It was lank and lusterless like of Mongolian races. "The nose is extremely short and low, with excessively broad nostrils, merging in the full, pouched cheeks, into which she appears to have the habit of stuffing her food, monkey fashion. Like those of the anthropoids, her feet are also prehensile, and the hands so flexible that they bend quite back over the wrists. The thumb also doubles completely back, and of the four fingers all the top joints bend at pleasure independently inwards. Prognathism seems to be very slightly developed, and the beautiful round black eyes are very large and perfectly horizontal. Hence the expression is on the whole far from unpleasing and not nearly so apelike as that of many Negritos, and especially of the Javanese "Ardi". But it should be mentioned that, when in a pet, Krao's lips were said to protrude so far as to give her quite a chimpanzee look." The other body was overgrown with soft black hair about a quarter of an inch long. The skin under it was of a dark olive-brown shade.

Keane paid the special attention to peculiarities of her head. It was covered by very black dense thick hair, similar to Mongoloid peoples. It reached to dense eyebrows. Other part of the body was covered by soft black hair. Under them there was seen dark olive-brown skin. Keane also considered that Krao may represent a different race of the humans which remained among the population of absolutely other races.

However his attempts, as well as efforts of other Darwinists to start deep research of Krao had sunk in streams of yellow press sensations, numerous "truth finders" and "eyewitnesses", frequently pure falsifiers. Now we have that views on events of those far years are quite different from reality. It seems that the right time came to reconsider the Krao phenomenon because amount of new data was received in the hominoid researches in various areas of the Earth.


Krao among peoples

Farini, who adopted the child, was very kind to her and she called him "Papa", and Professor Shelly "Uncle". She used cheek pouches to store in them any little tidbits for eating. Farini did not allow her to store fish or meat there, but a nut or grape sometimes. At first time she liked to play and behave like a little animal pet. Farini had a small monkey. Krao played with it as the same being, but when she spoke something it was seen that she is a reasonable human, a truly human being. She ran about equally well on all-fours or upright. She can use her little feet with as much skill as her hands ¾ to pick up a handkerchief from the flour and something similar.

Some scientists came and played with her, they evaluated her natural gifts. They noticed that though these games were similar to those of puppies, they received understanding that this was the real human being. They tried to understand, whether this creature was a casual deviation, the game of nature, similar to what they knew earlier ― hairy Julia Pastrana and others hairy ones. Or whether this child is a representative of an unknown race of apelike ancestors of the people living till now in Siam? Many naturalists gave Krao an exclusive scientific significance. In any case, if idea of "missing link" would be not proved, the existence of hairy people with big round eyes among Mongoloid hairless inhabitants has been obvious. Carl Bock also specified that some number of such peoples were found in the same area where Krao's family was seized.

It was seen that Krao has an average with a human child quality of intelligence. It was said, that "her eyes are large and full, and with a very human expression. Many a fair lady might envy poor little Krao these fine lustrous eyes!" It was clear at once that she possessed ability of articulated speech. During her way to England with Bock she learned a few words in English, which she used intelligently, not in parrot-fashion. In England her education quickly progressed, and after 10 weeks she was adapted to the new way of life. When she behaved it was enough to say about sending her back to her own people to get right conduct.


Fig.3. Krao 14 years old, dressed in overalls, with Farini


Professor G. Shelley saw Krao also ten years after arrival in England. He had noted changes occurred to the girl for these years. She had good mental abilities. She learnt English and German quiet well, could read and write, expressed female desire for beautiful clothes. The modesty, sensitivity and playfulness were her nice features, she was a respectful girl.

Krao had teeth unusual for those of humans. They were divided one from the other by gaps and resembled teeth of an anthropoid. They had this form all her life and amused the audience on her shows. Shelly said that her separate teeth were similar to those of a chimpanzee. Shelley also had found in her appearance that her head form in some degree reminded lines of an orangutan head. So, it is not seen on the photo Fig.4.

Fig.4. View of Krao's teeth


C.Bock and G.Shelly told that "wild people" to whom Krao belonged easily climbed the trees without clasping legs around trunks as peoples do. They pressed feet against a trunk and kept toes like apes. The ascending chimpanzee shows the way of climbing by members of Krao's tribe, as Professor G.Shelly described.

To climb trees (and mountain rocks) in this way, i.e. to put feet on the surface to climb, the feet of the climber should deviate to its shin much closer that a human can do it. Flexibility of feet and possibility of their approach to shin was marked in investigations by Grover Krantz (1992) and Jeff Meldrum (2006) as a significant feature of hominoids in North America.



Fig. 5. The climbing chimpanzee


Now focus attention to position of the upper thigh of climbing chimpanzee (Fig 5). Its position is alongside to the body when the lifted foot pressed the trunk. It withdraws knees out of stomach. When a human tries to climb by the same manner, his knees are opposite chest and stomach that makes difficult or impossible such climbing.

It is seen on Fig. 1 that Krao holds thigh of the lifted leg in the similar way, i.e. sideways from her body. It means that Krao had over flexible joints not only in feet but also hip joints, that is characteristic of anthropoids and is not common to humans. It is not seen on the photo, whether Krao's legs were shorter, than usual peoples have. But her gait and posture were always exclusively right even on fashionable heels.




Krao in America

After shows in London the life of Krao was full of interesting events. She stared in continental Europe and America. She visited New York, Philadelphia, other cities. There in circuses she showed to the public what they wished to see from her. lifted a scarf from a floor by foot, showed the teeth different from that of human, hid nuts in her cheek, and told about life in jungle, signed cards. She said that inhabitants of her tribe could speak, there were about 500 words in their language. Krao behaved herself very adequately.


Fig. 6. Adult Krao


Soon Krao had familiarized herself to America so that she could settle in Brooklyn. She took Farini's last name and earned by hers own staring in numerous New York museums. Until end of her live she was a star of the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus. She made friends with a German-couple, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Zeiler, and spent time with them in conversations in German. It was said that she spoke fluently seven languages. Sometimes she showed a new hobby ― to play folk melodies on violin without musical notes. also became fond of reading. She went out into streets of New York with a dense long veil. She was invited to marry, but she always declined it.

Fig. 7. Krao in the circus company


Krao Farini passed away of influenza April 16, 1926 in New York and was buried in St. Michael's Cemetery in Astoria.



Hairy peoples of Laos


As previously noted, C.Bok and G.Shelleys have met at royal court of Burma the family of hairy people. This family was the third generation of hairy people living there. Their ancestors were seen in Burma by English diplomat John Crawfurd (1829) early in the 19th century. In a few pages in the book he described the hairy man named Shwe-Maong, who started "The sacred hairy family of Burma". His history is not quite clear. Allegedly, he whether was born, whether was captured in mountains of Laos in 1796. Allegedly, but with some doubt, he had common parents. Thus, his origin was covered by some conflicting gossips, as well as Krao's story was. It is hardly possible to restore it now. But it was known for sure, that he was presented by King of Laos to King of Burma when he was five years old. He learned to speak. It was told that he had no teeth. Probably, they were similar to teeth of Krao, and that was accepted as teeth absence.

Crawfurd often talked with him. His description literally underlined the same features which were found out in Krao more than 50 years later. John Crawfurd came to the conclusion that Shwe-Maong was a representative of a new human species, which he named Homo hirsutus ― "the hairy human". Shwe-Maong has told to Crawford that he arrived from Laos. The way to Burma (Ava) took three months. The King of Ava who had several wives, considered, looking at the Shwe-Maong, that it was not good for a man to be alone. He gave to him a pretty slave-Burmanese girl.. Apparently, the family started happy life. They gave birth to four children, all were girls. First three were like mother, and the fourth one had inherited all special features of her father. Like Shwe-Maong (and Krao), she had only a few teeth. Crawfurd's description appears authentic. So, there is enough reason to consider that the tribe of Krao and Shwe-Maong was genetically compatible with human. Two children have died at early age that can be a sign of insufficient compatibility.

The hairy girl was named Mah Phoon and after assassination of the father she took the place of "The court treasure". An Italian tried to marry her for conveying the King's "treasure" to Europe, but was declined by King. She was married by a Burmanese, and athey gave birth to three children ― the usual boy, the hairy boy named Moung Phoset, and the hairy girl named Mah Me. Grown up Mung Foset worked at royal court yard as carpenter. Some photographs of this family are available.


Fig. 8. Mah Phoon with children


In this photograph one of the focuses of attention may be the very wide nose of Ma Fun, the first generation descendant of "the hairy man". It is similar to the Krao's wide nose.


Fig. 9. Old Mah Phoon and Moung Phoset


The larger man the center ― Moung Phoset, to the left of him ― his wife, to the right ― its aged mother Mah Phoon and further ― a man to help Mah Phoon.

Colonel Jul (Yule, Henry, 1858) saw this family in 1855. Many Burmese tribes informed him that "wild people" lived in the east parts of the country. Descriptions of "wild people" in those woods, if told to him, are absent.

Keane (1883) stressed also that Krao's father had had some features similar in every respect to those of members of hairy family at court of the King of Burma. He was sure that the hairy family had origin in the same places where Krao and her father were found. C.Bock received from locals information on some hairy peoples captured in Laos, but they did not become public.

The Burma period of the "sacred family" ended in 1885, when King Theebaw was dismissed from his throne, his palace was burned, but the family could save themself in jungles. An Italian captain Paperno who was at Court found them and suggested to hide them far in Europe. They arrived to London in 1886. Mah Phoon was old and blind, her daughter Ma Me had died, apparently during the way. After severe struggle between entrepreneurs for the right to expose family on shows they were taken to America. Mah Phoon died in February of 1888 and was buried in a Washington, D.C. cemetery.

In his small pamphlet Carl Bock (1883) wrote, that in those times he knew some stories about encounterings with hairy peoples looking similar to Krao.He participated in three episodes of the quest.

In addition to visits of King's palace Bock started inquiries among locals about the hairy humanlike creatures. Once he saw a photograph of a orang-outan like old man, who had his whole body covered with long hair and had extended round stomach. The appearance of this man had such features that he considered him as the typical "Missing Link". He determined to find him and see him in the flesh. Those people who saw him agreed that he was almost exactly similar to the " hairy family of Burma". Bock was told that he had come from Laos. At last he traced this man in Lampun But when Bock arrived there he learnt that the "man-monkey," as he was called by locals, had died a week previously. Bock, however, saw his grave his body, which was exactly like those of the King's family.

Soon after that case he became known of another man-monkey with white-beard, who was seen there, but Bock was unable to trace him. Wherever he asked about place of origin of these people, and inquired where their home was he was always told either in Laos or in Ngiou.

Near town Kambuna Bock met a Chinaman, who claimed that he had come across several of these people while hiking in the forests and mountains near Laos. This Chinaman undertook directly C.Bock for award to the district in which they were most seen. When they reached the borders of the Ngiou States he led Bock some distance through the jungle, where, he said, the human monkeys wandered about in a wild state. When they came to a clearance in the forest they saw a strange being of humanlike form. It was covered with hair. In a moment it sprang to its feet, and rushed shrieking away into the jungle. The Chinaman was in such a state of fear that he could not step further. Bock tried to continue the search and trace the creature alone but in vain.

Nevertheless, Carl Bock continued the quest with feeling that he was in the right place. The news that a white man wanted to obtain a man-monkey spread widely.

One day in town Petchabauree he was visited by a native who said he could conduct him to a hut in the forest and show human monkey. The creature was about ten years old and was captured about a week ago. At the next morning Bock with two his servants followed the guide through the forest. After ten or so miles of walking by slight track the guide turned into thick wood and they came to small hut. At first the guide told Bock to wait outside "to prepare the man monkey". After a while he invited Bock to come inside. C.Bock wrote:

"On entering the hut I beheld what I took for a strange animal, crouching down in a corner, with his back covered with such thick hair that at first I thought it was a boar.

― Behold the man-monkey, ― said my guide, and motioned me to approach.

The creature was very much frightened when I stooped down to touch it, and the guide was obliged to hold him to prevent him from running away.

On closer inspection I found it was a man-like being, very ape-like in facial expression, with thick matted hair on the head, and the back and arms covered with long soft hair, and the legs and other parts of the body were covered, but less thickly, with a soft down.

While trying to arrange with the guide and two other natives who were in the hut to bring the strange creature away with me, he took advantage of a moment when we were off our guard to leap through the half-open door, and with a few quick bounds he was lost in the jungle. I at once started in pursuit, but never saw him again."

The success was achieved only by joint C.Bock and G.Shelly expedition when Krao and her parents were captured.



The Krao photo gallery

Some rare Krao's photographs and related pictures were found in the Web. They may be interesting to reader, because feature some peculiarities of her.


Fig. 10. Krao and Farini in a studio.




Fig. 11. Handbills to shows with Krao presentations.

Fig. 12. Krao's parents in pamphlet from Guildhall Library, London (Kember 2007)


Let us pay attention that hair on the father's head in this picture differs from that in Fig.1. It is possible, that an artist depicted on his head longer hair because he knew and was impressed by photographs of "The sacred hairy family of Burma" (Fig. 8 and 9).


Fig. 13. Krao in youth, photos in a studio.


Fig. 14. Krao with a pet and with a book.





Fig. 15. Krao was fond of animals.


Krao had very long head hair. Female hominoids with very long hair were often seen in the Northern Caucasus (women-almasty) and in forest regions of Eastern Europe.


On possible place of Krao's tribe in Homo taxonomy

At a glance, the question about taxonomy of Krao and her tribe (population) is not valid. The public opinion with the political correctness excludes such statement or question as "Whether the modern mankind includes different species or subspecies Homo?" from the very beginning. But some human races differ really to a degree that they without hesitation would be named as different species if they consist a nonhuman beings. By the way, Carl Linnaeus in his first editions of "Systema Naturae" divided all mankind initially into four species named after continents, and then added to them two more species ― Bushmen and savage people. Later this classification was removed from "Systema ". An alternative approach is applied to Homo sapiens in other respects ― for example, Homo sapiens have no a holotype, though some proposals arose from time to time to allocate concrete persons as well. Nobody can decide ― what a person?

The other old question is ―"Whether the dividing line between the humans and animals is commonly indicated?". Till now it is considered that the line is ability to speak. This point of view was supported by philosopher and the first theorist in researches of living hominoids B.F.Porshnev. It was found out that human has special morphological forms in his brain controlling speech pronunciation and understanding of speech. Thus, definition of the human-animal line by language ability is not pure formalistic (pronouncing and understanding of sounds which have meaning), but also by existence of the organs that are absent in close primates ― Broca's and Wernicke's areas, etc. Recent researchers show similar formations in some primate's brains but they react differently from those of human.

From this point of view a question how to determine Krao, disappears as undisputable ― Krao perfectly spoke in several languages. She said also that her tribe used a language, whereas with very small dictionary. Large or small ― this has no significance taxonomy. I.e., Krao undeniably was Homo sapiens.

On the other hand, Krao demonstrated many features which are absent among common people. These Krao's morphological features, being examined separately, evolve analogies with various primates.

Her plausible feet linked her to hominoids in general. Thirteen chest vertebras and ribs showed links to chimpanzee or gorilla. The form of her skull related in some degree to orangutan. Teeth associated with those of chimpanzee. Pouches in her mouth are atavistic even among living anthropoids. Long hair on her head was like to those of humans, but also to hominoids in the Central and Eastern Europe and to Caucasian almasty. Her straight gait was of a proud woman. Her chin was clearly seen on her photographs. Her large beard of female is not known yet in any of modern human races or tribes.

Examinations of footprints made by North American hominoids Sasquatches (Krantz 1992, Meldrum 2006, 2007) showed that their feet had the ability to turn closely to shin. The authors explained that these peculiarities are result of huge body mass of the hominoids which causes extra tension in low part of their legs and feet.

It seems possible now that there is some other explanation. Case of Krao that had size of common people, when the family was captured threw some new light on the problem. Such feet permit to press them on vertical trunks of trees instead holding the legs fast around trunks. The same ability makes safer movements in abrupt rocks. So, these peculiarities represent the fact that some hominoids with flexible feet did not completely transform to foot morphology of long-distance terrestrial runner, as represented by humans but hold some previous niche.

Recent attention to footprints of extinct hominoids brought interesting facts about gait of the creatures. Anthropologist Crompton (2008) put forward the hypothesis that our ancestors walked vertically on a terrestrial surface like people, and moved like apes in trees, clasping branches by feet. G.Shelley's observations and narrations of locals showed that members of Krao's tribe used similar way of movements. Crao's feet morphologically allowed her to move alike.

This extensive set of features deviating outside the normal human ranges, but inherent in hominoids, showed that Krao was not an ugly human being with atavistic hypertrichosis, but another, well balanced being very close to human. But her main feature ― her intellect which had not less capacity than human.

Of course, it seems possible, following formal taxonomy guides, to present Krao as a holotype of a new species in genus Homo, or subspecies in Homo sapiens or Homo neanderthalensis. For example (fantasy!), new subspecies Homo neanderthalensis laosensis nov subsp (the Laotian Neanderthal). But relation of any boundary being to human involves numerous legal, ethical, moral, and other problems and questions, among them: Which of hominoids can (should) be classified as people, and which should not? There is no answer. Whereas genetic compatibility of people and members of Krao's tribe had been shown definitely, it may be case of interspecific hybridization with non sterile offsprings.

Certainly, modern methods of research, first of all genetic ones, provide a possibility to answer the questions more definitely. Apparently, Krao felt shame of her body and asked to cremate her after death, so that nobody could see it. But it was not fulfilled. She was buried in a usual grave on the known cemetery. In the interests of science, it seems necessary to find and investigate her remains.


To summarize the discussion at such uncertain view point on this problem, we consider ― the main attention now should be paid to protection and conservation of all still living hominoids and their habitat.




I thank Ilya Treiger and Natalie Mangenan for the help in search of relevant materials and discussion of the problem, Igor Burtsev for the help in publication, and also authors of the photographs and those who posted them in Internet for free access.




Bock C., 1883 'Krao', a living specimen of Darwin's 'Missing link': Discovered in Laos by the distinguished traveller, Carl Bock, and now exhibiting at the Royal Aquarium, Westminster, in Mr. Farini's new Lecture Room. Aubert's steam printing works, pp 20


Crawfurd J., 1829, Journal of an embassy to the court of Ava in 1927, London


Crompton R.H., Vereecke E.E., Thorpe S.K.S. 2008 Locomotion and posture from the common hominoid ancestor to fully modern hominins, with special reference to the last common panin/hominin ancestor. Proceedings Paper, Symposium on Human Evolution, 2007, Oxford, England, St Annes Coll Journal of Anatomy, V. 212, Iss 4, pp 501-543


Keane A.H., 1883. Krao, the Human Monkey. Nature 27: pp 245-246 (11 January)


Krantz G.S., 1992. Big footprints: a scientific inquiry into reality of sasquatch. Johnson Printing Co., Boulder, Colorado.


Meldrum J., 2006. Sasquatch: Legend meets science. NY.


Meldrum J., 2007. Ichnotaxonomy of giant hominoid tracks in North America. . In: Cenozoic Vertebrate Tracks and Traces. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Bulletin 42.


Resident A., 1883. Letters to Editor. Nature 27: 579-580 (19 April)


Yule H., 1858. A narrative of the mission sent by the governor-general of India to the court of Ava in 1855, with notices of the country, government, and people. London.



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Unexpected supplement


When this book has been already transferred to a publishing house, I have encountered in the Internet to an interesting picture. The hairy child shown in the photograph surprisingly looks like to Krao in her childhood. Considering the details and manner of the shooting, the picture was made recently. Apparently, it was a little girl. She was certainly not Krao as she was covered by much thick hair than was shown in Krao's pictures. There was no essential information on origin and further life of the girl.


Fig. 16. The photo of a girl of unknown origin that looks like Krao


The features that Professor Shelly underlined in Krao are visible at this girl. Her forehead is covered by the specific short thick hair which is extended down to eyebrows. The longer hair grows above it, on other part of her head. On the shoulder hair is directed upwards. On her back hair is directed to the middle of spine. There they will form a future mane which is placed from nape down along spine. Shelly saw such at father and mother of Krao. The girl had round eyes also marked by observers at Krao. On a child's face the first traces of growing beard are appeared. Certainly, it is necessary to undertake all efforts to find this child or her as adult. This photo permits to suggest that the Krao tribe may still exist in remote jungles and its representatives from time to time appear among peoples.


The man shown in the following picture is widely known, and sets of his photos are posted in the Internet. His name is Yu Zhenhuan, he lives in China. In 2002 he got a record in "Guinness Book of Records" as the hairiest person in the world.

Fig.17. The hairy man Yu Zhenhuan


I previously considered him as one of well known cases of hypertrichosis, until I saw his teeth in an other picture. They are very similar to teeth of Krao. There are also some other coincidences with Krao, for example, unusually wide for the Chinese people nose at his portrait.


Fig.18. The teeth of Yu Zhenhuan


This raises the question as to whether it is possible case of Krao-man who have been brought up among people? Even preliminary survey would be useful to define quantity of his ribs and corresponding vertebras, evaluate flexibility of joints in hands and feet, etc. Or may he be a hybrid similar to members of "sacred family of Burma"? The matter is that some understanding of this problem should be achieved to start such, and also genetic, investigations.