Elst's review of Kochhar's Vedic People

Paul Kekai Manansala kekai at JPS.NET
Sat Mar 11 16:40:15 UTC 2000

Rajarshi Banerjee wrote:
> PKM> Equus sivalensis may be gone but domesticated horses with sivalensis
> dentition, pre-orbital depression and 17 pairs of ribs are still found
> in South and Southeast Asia.
> RB> Unlike the case for cattle there is no evidence for horse domesication
> in the sub continent. If sivalensis was extinct how did such features
> survive. Did some wild horses in central asia  also have sivalensis traits?
> Are there any surviving wild equids which have sivalensis traits?

There are few truly wild horses left anywhere. Most are domesticated
horses which returned to the wild state. At one time, after wild horses
migrated from the Western hemisphere to Asia, they were spread out over
vast ranges of the "Old World" including India. There really is no solid
evidence that *all* these species went extinct prior to the
domestication of the horse. IOW, wild horses were not necessarily
confined to Central Asia before the single or multiple domestication

I personally have not read anywhere about wild equids with sivalensis
traits, but domesticated horses do exist quite commonly. Since these
horses are mostly in southeast Asia and are strongly divergent from
other equids, I doubt very seriously that the resemblance is a

Anyway, if DNA can be extracted from old sivalensis remains comparison
studies should be revealing.

> PKM> Interestingly, practically everywhere one finds domesticated Bos
> Indicus> one also finds domesticated Bus bubalis (water buffalo).
> RB> Any signs of bubalis in the near east?

Not in ancient times that I'm aware of. They do exist there now, and are
also found in parts of Europe particularly Italy.

>I believe that the swamp and > river buffalos cannot inter breed.

No, not only can swamp (48 chromosomes) and river buffalo (50
chromosomes) interbreed and produce fertile offspring, but both can
interbreed with cattle (60 chromosomes) although fertile offspring from
such unions are rare.

Incidently about 70% of the milk produced in India still comes from
water buffalos.

>with When were the swamp buffaloes of south > east asia domesticated?

Don't know for sure, but probably at least by the Aeneolithic.
Clay figurines of water buffalo and Bos indicus are common in Somrong
Sen and Ba Na cultures of the Indochinese neolithic possibly suggesting
some sacred value.

> How old is the tradition of associating yama with a
> buffalo. Any refrences to buffaloes in the rig veda?

Water buffalos are mentioned in the Rgveda. For example:

        Satam mahiSAN ksIrapAkamondanaM varAhamindra

Paul Kekai Manansala

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