Great Wall of Abkhazia – Shrouded in mystery

Life in Russia


The Great Wall of Abkhazia

While I was in Abkhazia I learned about the Great Wall or Kelasuri Wall. I was very intrigued, we’ve all heard of the Great Wall of China and Hadrian’s Wall but a wall in Abkhazia, “never”! What is truly incredible is the fact that this wall was 160 kilometers long (99 miles). The construction of this wall must have taken years to erect – and why was it built? From what I found even the date it was built is in question. I found several ranging from antiquity to the seventeenth century were possible, although more recent investigations have have revealed that the construction more than likely took place during the 6th century AD. Along the 99 mile route 300 towers stood, now most of them are entirely gone or largely ruined. I didn’t get to see the wall but I did find one of the…

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The Ivanov Experiments – Part I

Life in Russia

Ivannov experiments Ilia Ivanov

In February 1926, Russian biologist Ilia Ivanov set out for Guinea in French West Africa, where he planned to perform one of the world’s most sensational experiments. Ivanov was an expert in artificial insemination and had used his ground-breaking methods to create an assortment of hybrid animals. Now he was going to try something even more radical – crossing an ape and a human. His trip to Africa was expensive and its purpose highly questionable, yet the Bolshevik government not only sanctioned it but also financed it at a time when few Russians were allowed to leave the country. Why would so eminent a scientist risk his reputation? And why did the Bolsheviks back him?

half man, half ape ape-human hybrid

IT WAS the story with everything: secret papers, an evil Soviet dictator and a zealous zoologist hell-bent on breeding a creature that was half man, half ape. When details of Ilia…

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Denisovan jawbone from the Tibetan Plateau | NATURE

Scientists have uncovered the most complete remains yet from the mysterious ancient-hominin group known as the Denisovans. The jawbone, discovered high on the Tibetan Plateau and dated to more than 160,000 years ago, is also the first Denisovan specimen found outside the Siberian cave in which the hominin was found a decade ago — confirming suspicions that Denisovans were more widespread than the fossil record currently suggests.

Three types of Denisovans revealed by human DNA

Denisovans were capable of crossing major geographical barriers, including the persistent sea lanes that separated Asia from Wallacea and New Guinea. They therefore spanned an incredible diversity of environments, from temperate continental steppes to tropical equatorial islands. The emerging picture suggests that far from moving into sparsely inhabited country, modern humans experienced repeated and persistent interactions as they expanded out of Africa into this highly structured archaic landscape across Eurasia.