‘Sivapithecus’ had been the common ancestor of Borneo-Sumatran great ape:Dr A.R Sankhyan


‘Sivapithecus’ had been the common ancestor of Borneo-Sumatran great ape:Dr A.R Sankhyan

Dr A.R Sankhyan’s anger is understandable. He grew up here and spent his childhood playing in the area. Unfortunately, while the government has shown utter disregard for immense heritage wealth buried under Shivalik Hills, Dr Sankhyan stepped in. Dr Sankhyan revealed that Shivalik ape-man ‘Sivapithecus’ had been the common ancestor of the Borneo-Sumatran great ape, the Orangutan and of the earlier hominid lineage discovered in Africa as we read during our schooling.

‘Sivapithecus’ ,Dr A.R Sankhyan

African fossils, however, failed to establish the commonly claimed exclusive human-chimpanzee common ancestry, claimed Dr Sankhyan. He further stated that the Shivalik Hills ranges from east to west is 2500 kilometer long with varied widths up to 20 km and depths up to two kilometers. These rocks are classified into three major divisions—lower, middle and upper Shivaliks. The younger beds of the Lower Shivaliks witnessed the first appearance of ‘Sivapithecus.” But it was the Middle Shivalik part that provided most favourable habitats for various kinds of apes and ape-man and lower primates, notably in the Haritalyangar area of district Bilaspur.

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He regretted that unfortunately, most of the precious Shivalik fossils since adorn the national history museums in America, England and Germany and Himachal Pradesh were still being plundered of its natural heritage wealth. The government should step in and the area should be got declared as national heritage site under UNESCO guidelines, he stressed.

He also stated that when the Shivalik Sea was in the process of being filled up, the Himalayan height was very low, probably not exceeding 4500 feet MSL and just like that of the present day Dhar ranges confined the Shiwalik valley and foothills of Ghurmarwin-Haritalyangar area. With the passed of time, the Tibetan and the African plates neared to each other and collided. The pressure between the two plates raised the Himalayas since these are the youngest mountains with weak rocks. It resulted in complete change in climate. The Ape-man was not adapted himself to the sudden arrival of cold climate and migrated from here to African sub-continent where he found warm climate suited to him for survival. He evolved there to different hominid lineages, one of which belonged to the early man.

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His passion to go deep into the history of ape man and in an effort to save the heritage wealth of Shivalik Hills, Dr Sankhyan along with Dr P.C.Sharma, internationally acclaimed museologist have conceived a project to set up a fossil park-cum-museum in the area under the aegis of a scientific NGO named ‘Palaeo Research Society’ costing over Rs 25 crore. The proposal has been sent to the Department of Tourism, Government of Himachal Pradesh but it is yet to see the light of the day.

 ‘Sivapithecus’ had been the common ancestor of Borneo-Sumatran great ape:Dr A.R Sankhyan

“It will be a unique scientific instrument of mass awareness, heritage protection, education and research to reach out our ancestors and an unique attraction to national and international tourists and scholars, but also not the least a true homage to our ancestors,” Dr Sharma, chief adviser of the society. EOM

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