Re: [tied] Rigvedic horses

From: ravi9@...
Message: 9775
Date: 2001-09-25


We should follow the evidence, wherever it leads.

--- In cybalist@..., "Piotr Gasiorowski" <gpiotr@...> wrote:
> I know this story but refuse to take it seriously.

Rc :we should follow the evidence, wherever it leads

The article contains a number of errors, and unjustified
interpretations and inferences concerning biological and
palaeontological questions (but the opinions of two experts cited
there are entirely reliable and worth reading _carefully_ -- thanks
for eliciting them).

rc :Piotr : this is not like you. Refutation must be scholarly - what
errors / what unjustified inferences ?

The evidence promised in the title is not given anywhere; the
terminology used in the article is loose and betrays lack of deeper
familiarity with the relevant fields of biology (for example, Equidae
is a family, not a species; Caspians and Shetland ponies are members
of _Equus caballus_, not separate taxa).
> The fact that modern horses may have 34-38 (canonically, 36) ribs

This puzzles me ;

I accept the arguments re gentic variiabilty, but where is the
atee=ssted evidence for horses with 34 ribs ?? is this a textaul
fabrication ??

hows some genetic variability in this respect, _not_ that it derives
partly from an (unknown) ancestor with 17 pairs of ribs. Genetic
variation (reflected in anatomical variation, among other things) is
what we _normally_ find in any gene pool. Evolution would be
impossible without it. It results from random mutations, not from
mixed descent.

See above - where is the evidence ??

> _Equus sivalensis_ could not be renamed "Hipparion sivalensis" by
any horse expert in his right mind: to a palaeontologist, hipparions
are not even remotely confusible with any _Equus_ species. Anyway, as
far as is known, hipparions (which died out in the lower Pleistocene,
more than a million years ago) also had 36 ribs _on the average_,
though the number could perhaps vary slightly in the same way as it
does in modern horses. Even if the number were different, the genera
_Hipparion_ and _Equus_ -- the latter including all the living
equids, i.e. true horses, asses, hemiones (onagers, kulans and
khurs), kiangs, zebras and quaggas -- belong to different branches in
the family tree of horses: they separated much earlier than, say,
humans and gorillas. The Rigveda does not say anywhere that horses
have three digits on each leg, does it?

The rig veda does sya the horse as they knew it had 34 ribs, ?
what is wrong and what am I missing.

> One of the experts quoted on your page says that all equids more
recent than 20 million years ago seem to have had 36 ribs (sporadic
mutations apart). This is probably true of _E. sivalensis_ as well,
though I doubt if there are enough postcranial skeletal remains to
make sure (many fossil species are known from scant material,
typically teeth, skulls and fragmentary limb bones but no dorsal
vertebrae or ribs). But there is no reason to assume, on wishful
thinking alone, that the rib count was different from that found in
all other _Equus_ species. The idea that _E. sivalensis_ (or _E.
namadicus_, or any of their cousins) had 34 ribs is therefore just a
myth. Anyway, if a different equid species was domesticated in India
so recently, what's happened to it? (And how did true horses get to

Rc : This s exactly my query : why does the ig veda talf od a horse
with 34 ribs only and not that some had 34 ribs some 36 ansd some 38.

This is a statement that cannot be wished away . I would love for
someone to get to the bottom of the mystery.

> The only other equid that <as'va-> could conceivably stand for, is
_Equus hemionus_. Unfortunately, a typical hemione has 36 ribs, just
like a typical horse. The prehistoric range of onagers extended from
Ukraine to South Asia. However, <as'va-> derives from PIE *(h1)
ek^wos, a word which stands for domestic horses (and presumably stood
for their wild ancestors, such as steppe and forest tarpans) in all
the branches of IE in which it survives (including Indo-Aryan, of
course, but also Iranian, Baltic, Germanic, Celtic, Italic and Greek).

Rc : I am no linqust, but there are other readings of asva suggested
> It may not even mean a horse, but energy, life etc - any logic
there ??

rs, kulans, asses, etc. -- not even to mules and hinnies, and not
even among those IEs who must been been familiar with other equids.
Douglas Q. Adams tentatively reconstructs an IE "ass ~ onager" word
based on Skt. gardabHa- and Tocharian B kercapo- (if real, it might
also refer to the now extinct European wild ass _E. hydruntinus_).
> Regards,
> Piotr


You are one of the more knowledgable members here, and sometimes I
think, indeed I am sure, we ( at least I) try your patience.

Thank you for the trouble you take.

If you have time, be patient, and address my questions in an open
minded way

Best regards

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: S.Kalyanaraman
> To: cybalist@...
> Sent: Monday, September 24, 2001 2:05 PM
> Subject: [tied] Re: Dravidian in Persia?
> It is an elaborate story discussed on another list. The context is
the equus species with 34 ribs (not caballus). One URL: