[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]
Rajasaurus in Hindu temple?
In summer of 2003, Jeff Wilson, Paul Sereno, Suresh Srivastava, and
Ashok Sahni led a team that discovered the remains of Rajasaurus
narmadensis, a stocky, 30 foot long theropod dinosaur with an unusual
horn or crest, in the valley of the Narmada River in northern India.
Their expedition was inspired by earlier finds, in 1981, when
Srivastava had studied numerous large "balls" found by workers in a
limestone quarry. They turned out to be Rajasaurus eggs. Dinosaur
skeletons are rare in India, but clutches of the large eggs and the
dino bones are abundant in the region.
Some paintings of a deity called Sharabha (or Pakshriaja) in Hindu
shrines and temples in the Narmada region have been brought to my
attention, as possibly related to pre-scientific discoveries of
dinosaur fossils in northern India. Sharabha combines the features of
bird, reptile, and large predatory mammal. Temple paintings of this
being (made in about 1700) show a composite creature whose skull
bears a striking resemblance to the skull of Rajasaurus, with a
little pointed horn and similar teeth. There is also a curious red
outline around the skull that resembles the beak of protoceratopsid
dinosaurs, common in Mongolia.
I am told that fossilized dinosaur bones and large eggs are kept in
Sharabha shrines. If so, this suggests that the god's image might be
related to dinosaur fossils. The god's hybrid image may have first
originated as an imaginary creature. Then when people saw dinosaur
remains that seem to combine avian, reptilian, and mammalian
features, along with large stone eggs, the mysterious remains were
associated with the god.
I'd love to have some feedback from experts on the list. If you'd
like to examine the painting of Sharabha and compare it to
Rajasaurus, please contact me off list.
Thanks in advance.