Valerie J Roebuck vjroebuck at MACUNLIMITED.NET
Sat Feb 14 03:29:13 EST 2004

The situation is more complicated than this.  The Ganges and Indus
river dolphins (Platanista gangetica and Platanista minor) have long
snouts remarkably like that of the gharial, and in profile at a
distance are easily confused with it.  (And I imagine you wouldn't be
very inclined to swim up for a closer look....)  I have seen photos
illustrating this in a book on Whales and Dolphins, and it seemed to
explain a lot about the apparent combined crocodile/dolphin character
of the makara.

For a photo of the Ganges River Dolphin (Susu) see:

Valerie J Roebuck
Manchester, UK

At 6:56 pm -0500 13/2/04, John Huntington wrote:
>There is a good picture if a gharail at:
>The snout is far too long and slender to even suggest a makara to me.
>further the makara snout is always curled, which a gharail simply
>cannot do since it is an elongation of the skull see at:
> gaviale.htm  or
>Gavialis_gangeticus/  One may also note that the makaras have a very
>thick snout base much like the elephant's trunk and no extended lower
>jaw such as the gharail has.
>>While I certainly would not wish to contradict John Huntington when
>>it comes to artistic representations, when I recently discussed the
>>question with Gail Maxwell of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, a
>>propos a Bharhut image, she showed me her extensive files on the
>>depiction of the makara, including her evidence--I am not able to
>>judge whether it is convincing--that the earliest images are based
>>upon the Gavialis gangeticus, most particularly with regard to the
>>evolution of the snout, which in the actual crocodile inflates when
>>excited. (Another issue which might be  relevant here is that at
>>least at a later period there is a conflation of the makara with the
>>timi, timingila and timitimingila [various spelt]).
>>Cheers, JAS
>>Jonathan Silk
>>Department of Asian Languages & Cultures
>>Center for Buddhist Studies
>>290 Royce Hall
>>Box 951540
>>Los Angeles, CA 90095-1540
>>phone: (310)206-8235
>>fax:  (310)825-8808
>>silk at

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