Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 16th, 2011
Could a new phenomenon that is sweeping the world have precursor behavior among Mongolia’s unknown hairy hominoids?
Do you know what “planking” is? No, it is not a new behavior reported among Australia’s Yowies, but a social media phenomenon that is going global this week.
Planking is the action of lying face down, on your stomach, with arms to the sides, in unusual public spaces and photographing it. The photo is then shared in social media. See my long posting on this at the Twilight Language blog, here.
Currently, there is social tension about whether it is humorous, stupid, dangerous, or creative. That aside, the Facebook images tend to be funny, remarkable, or dangerous-looking. Here are a couple examples. More can be found here.
Humans, of course, sleep in many positions. Planking could merely be an expression, as a rugby player in Australia has stated, “pretty much active lying down.”
What if a widely reported Almas’ behavior was not of sleeping, but some form of communication. Let’s revisit this “lying down” behavior of the Almas.
In 1913, Muscovite V. A. Khakhlov submitted to the Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences his extraordinarily detailed report about the unknown hairy hominids of eastern Asia. In one section of the document, Khakhlov gathered reports from the native Kazakhs of Dzungaria.
Dzungaria is named after a Mongolian kingdom which existed in Central Asia during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Today, Dzungaria is a geographical region within the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, northwestern China. The area is a largely steppe and semidesert basin surrounded by high mountains: the Tian Shan in the south and the Altai in the north. Outside of Asia, the name is mostly associated with Dzungarian hamsters (Phodopus campbelli or Phodopus sungorus, depending on your source).
Specifically, Khakhlov wrote an interesting passage which appears to explain, perhaps, what is found regarding the “bare knees” appearance of the area’s Almas. Khakhlov noted the following, in his report (as recorded by Ivan T. Sanderson in Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life), of one captive “wild woman” (an Almas) in the region of the River Manass, or Dam:
This creature seldom issued any sounds and usually was quiet and silent. Only when approached she bared her teeth and screeched. It [sic]has a peculiar way of lying down, or sleeping – like a camel, by squatting on the ground on its knees and elbows, resting the forehead on the ground, and resting the head [see drawing above from his report]. This position accounts for the unusually hard skin of the elbows and knees – like camel’s soles.
Were the Almas merely planking, hairy hominoid style, and thus playing a game amongst themselves?