Facsimile of Our Early Ancestor

Shiba Shankar Satpathy

Govt. Of Orissa Activities Report 2004-05

A news report by a TV channel (E – TV Oriya) showed a person of Kondh tribe whose facial reconstructed appearance of early man. More interesting was the appearance of same features in his little daughter. Views of some expert academicians were added who did not specify any reason without investigation.

To examine the journalistic fact, research bureau investigated in anthropological way. A short report with explanatory photographs is presented to our viewers.

The present Boud district is on continuous hilly terrain of the Eastern Ghats. This mountainous region covers several of some ancient communities, now called scheduled tribe. In a small hamlet (Khali Sahi), seven families of Kondh (aboriginal community) settled some 50 years ago, migrated from another village Linepada in adjacent Phulbani district. As the Kondh is a very large tribal group, they have several sub-groups with socio-cultural identities. These Khali Sahi families (totaling 40 individuals) claim to belong to ‘Malua Kondh’ (Upland dwellers) sub-groups. They are also known as ‘Basu Sabara’. They speak their own dialect (of Dravidian families) among themselves, but speak a debased type of Oriya (Indo-European family) the state language with outsiders.

The villagers depend on cultivation and occasional labour work.

  • Observation on face and body show that skin colour is brown, with profuse bushy hair grown not only on face and chest, but also shoulders, arms, back, hands and legs. His daughter (about 12 years old) has also similar hairy features. Photographs of man can convey idea, but the daughter refused to be photographed.
  • The torso is longer but the legs are shorter for which the arms hang down near to the knees unlike other villagers.
  • Forehead is high and there is eyebrow ridge, as found in the apes. The forward projection (prognathous) of upper gum line (maxillary) with corresponding receding chin presents an ape or monkey like appearance. Broad nose wings and large nostrils make the facial appearance more primitive; as found in reconstructed photo of early men (now extinct).
  • Although the feet are like others but the fingers of hand are striking. Thumbs are short and lowly placed and the fingertips are club shaped. The monkeys have such digital features for easy movement on trees.
  • Genealogy of this man (above 50 years) shows none of his brothers and sisters or their children show such features. His wife is also like others. Apart from his only daughter that show such features, the eldest son (died at 7 years age) had such characters, but his another surviving son (15 years) is quite fee from such features.

In anthropological literature, a reappearance of ape like physical features (atavism) is not uncommon, so also hairiness (hirsutism) occurs not only in men but also in women, varying in degree. When other members of his family is free from such features, a scholar can find interest in his descendants, where out of three children, two showed the features.

Photographs : By the Author

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