Narmada human

Print edition : December 28, 2012

Side view of the Narmada human's skull.-

ON December 5, 1982, the geologist Arun Sonakia discovered the only known fossil of a human ancestor from South Asia on the banks of the Narmada. The place was Hathnora village in Sehore district, nearly 35 kilometres east of Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh. The discovery changed the face of human origin studies in South Asia, Prof. D.K. Bhattacharya, former head of the Anthropology Department at the University of Delhi, said. Sonakias find is absolute hard evidence of human evolution in this part of the continent, he said.

The Narmada human, a fossil skull, belongs to the ancestor category of Homo erectus, who inhabited the earth from 1.8 million to 200,000 years ago and preceded Homo sapiens. Sonakia puts the age of the fossil at 500,000 to 600,000 years citing animals that he found along with the fossil, features of the fossil skull and palaeo-magnetic dating studies done at the Geological Survey of India (he was Director of its palaeontology division). He thinks the fossil individual may have been 25 to 30 years old. Some palaeoanthropologists think that the Narmada specimen may be a late evolved form of Homo erectus.

To celebrate the remarkable discovery, the Centre for Advancement of Public Understanding of Science & Technology, will focus in the coming year on the neglected areas of prehistoric archaeology and palaeoanthropology.

A letter from the Editor


Dear reader,

The COVID-19-induced lockdown and the absolute necessity for human beings to maintain a physical distance from one another in order to contain the pandemic has changed our lives in unimaginable ways. The print medium all over the world is no exception.

As the distribution of printed copies is unlikely to resume any time soon, Frontline will come to you only through the digital platform until the return of normality. The resources needed to keep up the good work that Frontline has been doing for the past 35 years and more are immense. It is a long journey indeed. Readers who have been part of this journey are our source of strength.

Subscribing to the online edition, I am confident, will make it mutually beneficial.

Sincerely,

R. Vijaya Sankar

Editor, Frontline

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor