Animal evidence (was Re: Indigenous Aryanism)

Dominik Wujastyk ucgadkw at
Mon Dec 16 10:31:54 UTC 1996

On Sun, 15 Dec 1996, Edwin F Bryant wrote:

> [...] monkeys and elephants (both with proto-IE pedigree according to G
> & I) can be utilised just as reasonably to support an Indian urheimat. 

While we are on the topic of animals, and just in case it comes up some
time, Frawley in _Gods, Sages, and Kings_ ( pp. 90 f.) uses the mention of
the Ganges riverine dolphin ("si.m"sumaara)  in RV I.116.17--18 as
evidence for an eastern home for the composers of the RV, and argues that
this dolphin proves that the river Jahnavi must be the Ganges, and not a
river such as the Indus in the Punjab.  As far as I can see, almost
everything Frawley says in this passage is wrong, as are his far-reaching
conclusions based on his errors. 

The "si.m"sumaara is not the Delphinus gangeticus as Frawley claims (I'm
not even sure that "Delphinus gangeticus" is a proper name; I've only seen
it in Monier-Williams.  Perhaps it is just out-of-date), but Platanista
gangetica (Lebeck). It is a fascinating creature, and is 

   "Found in the Ganges, the Brahmaputra, the Indus, and their larger
   tributaries to the bases of the hills.  They are also seen in the tidal
   limits, but do not enter the sea."  

For some time the Indus dolphin was consdered a separate species
(Platanista indi), but is now considered conspecific with P.  gangetica. 

There are also fresh-water Dolphins in South America and China.

See _The book of Indian Animals_ by S. H. Prater (Bombay, 1971, fourth
impression 1993).  ISBN 0 19 562169 7, pp. 312- .

Best wishes,
Dominik Wujastyk               Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine
email: d.wujastyk at          183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, England
<URL:>                    FAX: 44 171 611 8545

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