Since almost two years this nagging thought inside me had kept me wondering—are the newly discovered Human cousins, who were ostensibly a taller species, same as the giants mentioned in Hindu scriptures like Ramayana?
From whatever little that I have stumbled upon as proof, I am sure, will make Valmiki and Ved Vyas smile. After all they had not concocted stories but had written down the Indian subcontinent’s history in their epic poems. Back then these giants were called Rakshasas.
Denisovans- The giants?
Somewhere in 2008, few Russians paleoanthropologists stumbled upon a tooth and a bone inside a cave in Siberia. The cave’s last known inhabitant was a hermit called Denis, after whom the cave has been named. Initially, paleoanthropologists assumed the bone belonged to a bear as it was large. Later the DNA extraction revealed that it belonged to a ‘sister- group’ of Neanderthals, who lived 75,000 years ago. Scientists were initially reticent to call it as a different species, but a species which had 2.5 cm long pinky bone (little finger bone) had to be from a much larger skeletal structure than that of modern human and Neanderthals, yet had to be a cousin to both of them. If you look at your little finger, you’ll discern that a bone from your little finger is hardly a centimeter long. The tooth discovered at the cave was a molar, it’s size too was a proof that Denisovans were indeed much larger than humans.
In the month of march, 2019, a palm-sized braincase of Denisovan skull was discovered by the scientists, which again reinforces the fact that Denisovans were bigger than humans. Computer generated facial features of the Denisovan girl whose pinky bone found in the cave has also been released. Ostensibly, Denisovans were brown, had brown eyes and hairs. With such discoveries the foundation of the human history as laid by western paleoanthropologists is disintegrating.
The giant, humans and the Indian sub-continent
Scientists have now established that humans and Denisovans interbred as late as 15,000 years ago. Does that ring a bell?
In Mahabharta, Bhim (a human) apparently married a woman called Hidimbi (Giant/ Rakshasi) and had a son, Ghatotkacha, who was later responsible for causing great deal of destruction to the Kaurava Army, during the great war fought at Kurukshetra. Could this be sited as proof from the epic poems of Indian subcontinent that Denisovans indeed wedded humans?
Since the discovery of Denisovan bone in Siberia almost a decade ago, more evidences across the world have been found to prove that they existed, for example earlier this year a Denisovan jawbone was found in China . But there’s paucity of such discoveries when compared to Neanderthals. So far scientists have been able to confirm a few things about this “sister-group”.
- Humans around the world have about 3-5% of Denisovan genes in them.
- The indigenous people from New Guinea and aboriginals of Australia might have higher percentage of Denisovan genes than rest of us.
Recently an Indian scientist had posted his research article in the science magazine, Nature, which proves that Indians, especially the tribal communities in India, have higher Denisovan genetical remnants in them than other South Western Asians. Mr Partha Majumder, who is the founder of the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics, and currently a Professor of the Indian statistical institute, Kolkata, with his team has stumbled upon some interesting findings. In his article —GeneomeAsia 100k project , he has claimed that the Denisovan genes found in India belongs to Sunda Denisovans and is not same as their norther cousins. Sunda Denisovans belonged to Sunda shelf, which includes present day Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia etc. Refer map below>>>
The giant’s connection to Ramayana and Mahabharta
These recent discoveries on Denisovans facilitate in finding the timeline to which the epic poems—Ramayana and Mahabharta, belong. It has become very evident now that these are not mythologies but history of the Indian subcontinent, or perhaps of the human species across the world.
Let’s pick up few of the significant events in recent past and cross-verify them with the incidents mentioned in the poems and with Denisovan history known to us so far.
- 75000 years ago: Toba volcanic eruption in Sumatra, Indonesia. The scale of devastation of this eruption at Mount Toba was such that the volcanic ash spread as far as the Arabian sea, covering most parts of South India by a few meters. Discovery of the villages in Tamilnadu which were covered by the volcanic ash of Toba explosion prove that Indian Subcontinent was inhabited during the event. But this explosion has not been mentioned in both Ramayana or Mahabharta. So both Valmiki and Ved Vyas came into existence after this incident.
- 30,000 -15000 years ago: Denisovans co-existed with humans in New Guinea 30,000 years ago and interbred with humans till about 15000 years ago– is proven by our scientists. Bhimsen’s marriage to Hidimbi in Mahabharta is a proof that such marriages were not uncommon to humans.But it’s the timeline which is perplexing, this so because till about 16400 years ago, Indian sub continent was connected to Sri Lanka.
In my article, India 11,000 years back, I’ve described the inhabitants and the shape of Indian sub-continent as it appeared in Holocene period. But some 8000 years ago, a huge sheet of ice melted in North America, and it’s a possibility that the melt-water from this cataclysmic event lead to the drowning of swathes of coastal region in the Indian subcontinent. Check the computer generated image of Gujarat coast as it vacillated during the period from 19,000 years to 6900 years>>>
Since submergence of Krishna’s city Dwarka, in Mahabharta, is the only event that comes close to drowning of coastal regions in the Subcontinent, we can safely assume Mahabharta’s timeline to be between 8000-6000 years ago. Do not forget that this timeline coincides with the rise of Indus valley civilization (IVC) or which I prefer calling Sindhu-Saraswati civilization (SSC).
Digressing from the topic, from my observations and findings neither did SSC peak during that time period nor did the civilization end there. It continues to flourish through us, as I have discussed it in my article—Dholavira, the zenith of Harappan architecture.
It is interesting to note :
- Sri Ram and Hanuman are mentioned in Ved Vyas’s Mahabharta, the reverse is not true for Mahabharta’s characters.
- Also, till 16,400 years ago, Ram Sethu or Nalla Sethu as Valmiki called it, was not built as there already existed a landmass connecting India and Sri Lanka.
- Since the melt-water came in waves, it is possible that submergence of coasts occurred in many stages. This can explain why the landmass connecting India and Sri Lanka submerged before Dwarka.
Ergo we can safely conclude that Valmiki Ramayana was written before Ved Vyas’s Mahabharta. In my above observations, I have taken Valmiki’s Ramayana as point of reference, and not Tulsi Das’s Ramayana as it was written in devotion and seems to have certain distortions. The fact that in Valmiki Ramayana, Valmiki goes on to tell details of about 73 of Shri Rama and Sita’s ancestors, proves the fact that he wrote it with an intent to jot down historical events. Au contraire such deets are missing from Tulsi Das’s Ramayana.
Trying to link these sequence of events vis-à-vis Denisovans, one can easily conclude Denisovans were more in numbers during the era of Ramayana and their population had plummeted before Mahabharta occurred. This is why Ramayana had more characters who were Rakshasas or giants, than Mahabharta. For example Ravana and his family, and inhabitants of Sri Lanka were mostly Rakshasas as Valmiki recorded it.
There are myriads of mentions in epics from around the world that long ago there were civilizations far more advanced than the present human civilization. But since most of us read a skewed version of history, initially it is a little overwhelming for a reader to assimilate information that contradicts a narrative that has been taught to us. But I am sanguine, that the quest to know our real history will someday let people acknowledge that Ramayana and Mahabharta were not fictional stories. This might happen sooner than we expect.
This is a green chlorite bangle found at the cave in Siberia from where the first evidences of Denisovans were also discovered. The bangle had holes on it, probably to hang a leather strap. It has been accepted that the hole was made with a fast moving object. The word that scientists are reticent to mention is DRILLING. Is it because they want to keep us in dark about how technologically developed Denisovans were? One look at the hole and its neat finish should suffice to prove my point>>>
This article is written by Levina