Flora, Fauna and Nature in Aryan Urheimat
by P. Priyadarshi
The Oak Tree
Witzel claims that oak, birch and willow trees grow in the northern colder regions, and presence of the respective cognate words in Sanskrit with meanings of the three specific tropical trees should mean that the Indo-Europeans came to India carrying these words, and after not finding the original trees in India they thrust these names on to the three tropical trees found in India. (2009 fulltext:5, fn 32). http://www.ias.ac.in/jbiosci/dec2009/Witzel_fulltext.pdf Hence he writes, “the IE word for ’oak’ may be contained in parkaṭī > 'ficus infectiora'”. Pokorny and others have claimed that the PIE perkuu-s (from which Sanskrit parkaTI, Hindi pakar, pakur have derived) meant ‘oak’ (Pokorny 822-823). However they never claimed that Ficus was cognate of parkaTI and this correlation is a contribution of Witzel. In fact it has been held that oak must not have grown in the IE homeland, because it has no common (cognate) word in the languages of Europe. Crystal wrote that there is little evidence of a common word for ‘oak’ in Europe, which is a common European tree, and is even the national tree of many European countries (p. 296). Thus we have: English oak; German Eiche; Dutch eiken; Middle Dutch ek; Danish eg(-en); We may note here that the words eiken or acorn mean fruit with a ‘single seed’, and are derived from PIE (and Sanskrit) eka meaning ‘one’. German Viereiche, OHG fereheih (c.f. Sanskrit vRkSa, vulgar Hindi biriccha, tree). Old Scandinavian fir; But Old English furh meant ‘pine’. Latin quercus (from this have derived ‘cork, quercetin’ etc.); llex (holme-oak); Spanish= roble; French = chêne; Romanian = stejar; Proto-Celtic *dari(k)(Sanskrit daru, tree). Greek phegos
(but Latin fagus is ‘beech’); Greek drys (c.f. Sanskrit daru, taru both meaning tree; OCS drievo, Russian drevo, Serb drvo and drva all mean tree; Lith. dreva pine; Pol. draw wood). Albanian drusk oak. Lithuanian azuolas, azoulinis. On the other hand many cognates of parkat mean ‘pine’ even: German fichte, pine; Latin picea, pine. Interpretation: Thus we see that there is no common root for ‘oak’ in various European languages. That means when the Indo-European speakers arrived into Europe, they applied different words meaning ‘tree’ in their homeland (which in our study was India). In Sanskrit, daru, dara, vriksha are words meaning tree. They were applied indiscriminately. Thus the same word daru was applied to mean ‘oak’ in Greece, but to ‘pine’ in Lithuanian. Out of these names of oak in Europe, only Scandinavian fir and Latin quercus qualify to be cognates of PIE perkat and Sanskrit parkaTI. Although fir and quercus have no resemblance between them, both of them can be derived from Sanskrit ParkaTI. Thus it is Sanskrit which is the connecting link of the two--the Germanic and the Italic. We noted that fir does not always mean ‘oak’. It often means any tree or wood as in Old English it means pine. (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=fir ). Yet thoroughly ignoring these facts, Witzel and the likes claimed that oak is represented in Sanskrit (and India) as parkaTI. Thus we find that the etymology of oak has been bungled up by these authors. Witzel’s other claim in the same footnote that ficus (Latin, fig) is derived from parkaTI is bogus too. Fig is a foreign word in Europe from Hebrew (Valpi:153). It is entirely different matter that it may have entered Hebrew language from India. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=fig While Germanic fir is a generic word meaning variously like wood, pine or oak in different languages, parkaTI or pakur is a specific tree species of India. And it has meant Ficus infectoria since ancient times. There are many Ficus species in India: banyan, pipal and fig, which are never confused with each other in names in India. In fact the word parkati has widespread cognates in Austronesian languages like pakat, paka, napak and mpaka etc. spreading from Malagasy to Polynesia, and meaning either different species of Ficus like prolixa and obliqua or aerial roots, or in some languages ‘root’ (Mahdi:203): http://books.google.co.in/books?id=217jl_IBFP0C&dq=Language+change+and+c ultural+transformation&q=fig#v=snippet&q=ficus&f=false Kalimantan Island Languages: pakat (root).
Merina Language (Madagascar): fahani (from *paka, root). Bismark Archaepelago: paka (Ficus nodosa, Tolai and Pala languages) Fiji: mbaka (Ficus oblique, Mbau language)
Vanuatu (various languages): mbak, paka, nu-mbak, na-pak, na-ban, pan (all meaning Ficus prolixa) Apart from these other cognates of pakur or parkaTI in Austronesia are uakat, oakat, *uakaR, akar, okor, etc (Mahdi:204-6). This evidence rules out parkaTI from being a northern word. This also means parkati is an Indian word older than Austronesian migration. In Malay-Polynesian (i.e. Austronesian) this word must have entered before the language radiated east from Indonesia. Thus its arrival into India with Indo-Aryan at a later lime is ruled out because of its presence in distant Austronesian languages. Other Indian words for ficus are too found in Austronesian. Hindi bar (Sk. vata) is found in Javanese (Adelaar and Himmelmann:183-4). Related species of oak are found in Central Asia too. Had Indo-Europeans migrated to Europe from Central Asia, or from Russian steppe to Central Asia, the Altaic languages too must have had a word for oak common with European words. In fact, it is India where oak is not found and that is why the original Indo-Europeans did not have any word for it. When the IE speakers reached Europe, different batches of immigrants named the same tree ‘oak’ with different words in different countries. In the same footnote, Witzel tries to give impression that Sanskrit plAkSa (meaning many trees of Ficus genus) too is a cognate of parkaTI and Ficus. However, without much exercise we can say that plAkSa is the Sanskrit form of English word ‘flax’. It is known that the primitive people wove dress from ficus fibres, as they still do in New Guinea. When they migrated into Central Asia and Europe, the meaning Ficus was lost, because no ficus tree grew there, yet the meaning ‘fabric’ was retained.
Textile from ficus fibres. Source: MacKenzie:70, plate 41. http://books.google.co.in/books?id=cgkStGdjVhsC&pg=PR3&dq=%22Androgyno us+Objects:+string+bags+and+gender+in+Central+New+Guinea%22&hl=en&ei= dx8gTqTwHcaIrAf0m_nzAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0 CCoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false
Fig. fabric made from ficus fibres. Source: MacKenzie:87, plates 51, 52.
Ficus fibres have been used by more primitive people in New Guinea for making strings and coverings for their baskets (MacKenzie: 68, 69, 83, 87). It differs from woven textile because it requires only one element simply interworked with itself, to form the fabric (Ibid:209). It has been found that 30,000 years old Caucasians did weaving with wild fibres (Kvavadze). Hence it may be quite likely that the Indians too knew weaving before cultivation of cotton or use of wool, and before the Papuan people migrated out of India to reach distant ISA. However, at that time weaving was not with linseed fibres but with ficus fibres.
Fig: Indian migration to New Guinea. Source; Hudjasov, http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8726/F1.large.jpg It is likely that the memory of this relationship of ficus fibres with fabric/ textile has been retained in the Biblical mention of fig-leaves as cloth of Adam and Eve (Genesis: 3.7). Likewise, fig leaves have long been used to cover the genitals of nude figures in painting and sculpture. The use of the fig leaf as a protector of modesty or shield of some kind has entered the language. Thus plakSa and plAkSa are not cognates of any of the words viz. ficus, parkaTI, fir or quercus, although Witzel sounds to suggest so. Cognates of PlakSa in European in our analysis are: flax (linen, English), fleax (linen, Old English), flachs (German), *flakhsan (Proto-Germanic), ply (E), flay (to strip fibres, E), plexus (L), plectere (to braid, fold,
Latin), plekein (to plait, twine, Greek), plektos (twisted, Greek), *plek- (to weave, to strip fibres, PIE; Pokorny ple :834). Cognates of flax are absent from Lithuanian: lina (flax, Lith.). Elst explains this as follows: “It should be realized that virtually all IE-speaking areas are familiar with the cold climate and its concomitant flora and fauna. Even in hot countries, the mountainous areas provide islands of cold climate, e.g. the foothills of the Himalaya have pine trees rather than palm trees, apples (though these were imported) rather than mangoes. Indians are therefore quite familiar with a range of flora and fauna usually associated with the north, including bears (Sanskrit Rksha, cfr. Greek arktos), otters (udra, Hindi Ud/UdbilAv) and wolves (vRka). Elks and beavers do not live in India, yet the words exist, albeit with a different but related meaning: Rsha means a male antelope, babhru a mongoose. The shift of meaning may have taken place in either direction: it is perfectly possible that emigrants from India transferred their term for “mongoose” to the first beavers which they encountered in Russia or other mongoose-free territory. While the commonly-assumed northern location of PIE is at least disputable even on linguisticpaleontological grounds, as just shown, the derivation of its western location on the basis of the famous “beech” argument is undisputably flawed. The tree name beech/fagus/bhegos exists only in the Italic, Celtic and Germanic languages with that meaning, while in Greek (spoken in a beechless country) its meaning has shifted to “a type of oak”. More easterly languages do not have this word, and their speakers are not naturally familiar with this tree, which only exists in western and central Europe.”
Willow argument is that when the IE speakers came to India, did not get the willow tree and hence named the flexible reed ‘cane’ as vitasa (a cognate of willow). We need to examine it. Sanskrit for cane= veNu, veta, vetasa, vetasI, vetra, vetra-yaSTi. Hindi bent. Willow (E): sallow, osier, Old English sealh, Latin salix; German weide, widig, Spanish, sauce, Portugese salgueiro, French saule; Latin salix, Lithuanian gluosnis, karklas, blokstas, atliekos, atlieku, zilvitis, ozkaroze. Thus willow tree has no common word in European. On the other hand the very words (e.g. vitis) derived from Sanskrit vetasa or PIE *wei-ti have no necessary association with ‘willow’ in European languages: Latin vitis vine; Russ. vitvina branch. Probably anything flexible could be named after this root in Europe, while in India it had a fixed meaning of a particular cane-reed. Thus this argument is flawed and the fact is that when the IE speakers reached north Europe, there was no reed tree. Hence the name vetasa was trust on to willow tree and
in the southern route (J2b) the word vitus was thrust on to vine. Had IE originated in northern regions, Latin should not have had salix for willow, and vitus for vine.
Birch and bhurja Another allegation is that ‘birch’, a tree found only in snow-fall regions of world, has been represented in Sanskrit as ‘bhurja’. That, they claim, is because the Indo-Aryans came to India from colder regions of Asia (Witzel:5n32). He forgets that once upon a time during last glacial, India too had snowfall over most of its territory, when birch must have grown abundantly in most parts of India. And again about 11,000 ybp there was a glacial phase for about 1000 years. Witzel has unfortunately not verified facts about modern geography of birch tree either. Birch is found in the Himalayas in India-Tibet, and it is found in Europe (except southern Europe), western Siberia, northern East Asia and Americas. There is a huge discontinuity between Himalayas and the other areas of distribution of this glacial age plant. It is not found in the Central Asian desert. Cognates of Sanskrit bhurja have been retained in most the languages of Europe (Crystal:296). This indicates that this word was used in India when the Indo-European speakers migrated out of India chasing receding snow of Eurasia at about 16,000 ybp (DNA evidence of migration of R1a Y-DNA present). Witzel rejects this possibility without placing any argument. Presence of its likely cognates in north-eastern Asian TungusManchu as baku, pe etc have not been investigated. Thus Witzel’s narrow thinking restricting Indo-Aryan languages to only recent periods is not supported by geographical and DNA evidence. Indian folk memory has retained memory of widespread birch forests in East Vindhyan region during glacial period. This region is still called Bhoja. Existing words are Bhojapur, King Bhoja etc. Mahabharata too mentions this region as Bhoja-kshetra, and its king was called Bhojaraja.
The Substrate Language of Europe
The Indo-Europeanists have often suppressed the fact that the European languages have been formed over a Semitinic and Vasconial substratum. Quack noted that there is a huge presence of a substratal language in the north European languages. Vennnemann found that substratum for Celtic languages was made by Semitic languages (Baldi and Page:2187, fn4). However he found that for other European languages substratum was made of Basque or Vasconian languages, and Semitic formed the super-stratum or “cultural” layer:
“Through the fact that there are so many words with a Basque or Semitic equation that occur only in West Indo-European languages, a new etymological research strategy is defined by the theory: take those words and try to find lexical correspondences in Basque or Hamito-Semitic, viz. in Basque if the word gives the appearance of a substratum word (plant names, names of ‘‘natural’’ animals, herding), and in HamitoSemitic if the word gives the appearance of a superstratum word (‘‘cultural’’ animals, advanced cattle breeding, terms referring to city building, warfare, societal organization, etc.)”. (ibid:2187) However, with the clarification of routes of human migration into Europe emerging from DNA studies, we know that primary waves of human advance into East, Central and Northern Europe took place from the Central Asia, as the Proto-Uralic branch of Proto-Uralic-Altaic linguistic stock. We also know now that the northeast African migration into Europe across Mediterranean took place a couple of thousand years before Neolithic and Indo-European arrival into Europe. Hence Semitic is actually not the superstratum, but substratum for Europe on the basis of this circumstantial evidence. With these newer things in mind, we can say that European linguistic substratum is formed of Semitic, Proto-Basque and Proto-Uralic-Altaic languages. Thus Semitic (Austro-Asiatic), Altaic-Uralic and Basque dictionaries must be consulted for aetiologies of all those words in the Indo-European languages of Europe which are not represented in the Indo-Iranian branch of IE. Thus good-looking IE words from many semantic domains are found in only a few IE languages (Germanic and Italic, Italic and Celtic, Greek and Armenian, for example), and they have not been examined properly so far. They have been usually passed off as retention of an IE word which is lost elsewhere.
Lachs Theory: The Daylight Bungling
Mehendale (2005:58-59) summarizes Thieme’s Lach’s Theory in the following words: “Old HG lachs, Anglo-Saxon leax, Old Norse lax etc. point out to a common origin of IE *laks-/*lakso- for salmon fish’. This kind of fish is to be found only in the rivers which flow into the northern oceans (the North Sea and the Baltic Sea) and their tributaries. There is no salmon in Greece and Italy. Hence we have no correspondence of IE *laks/*lakso- in Greek and Latin and also in south Slavic. The Celts had their own word which was later borrowed as ‘salmo’ in Latin.” However this principle is not applied while interpreting the etymology of the Tocharian laksi (fish) and Sanskrit lAkSa (one hundred thousand) and lAkSA (lac, a resin). Thus the same author proceeds to complete the hypothesis in the following manner: “That the word in Tocharian does not mean ‘salmon’ is understandable, since there are no salmon in Central Asia. The Tocharian branch has thus preserved the old IE word but given it a more general meaning ‘fish’.”
The theory further surmises that the word corresponding to Germanic ‘laks’ in Sanskrit should be lAkSa (one hundred thousand) and lAkSA (the red resin lac). The hypothesis argues that salmons are always found in large numbers, hence “Sanskrit has preserved IE word *lakso- in the form laksa-, not in the meaning salmon but in the meaning ‘one hundred thousand’.” For lAkSA, the theory argues that the flesh of salmon is red and lac is also red. Thus the Indian lac which is a red resin made by insects living on a particular tree has been thrust the name lAkSA when the Indo-European speakers arrived into India. [Proto-Germanic : *lakhs; MHG lahs; Yiddish lahs (a HOG language of Ashkenazi Jews); Icelandic lax; Danish laks; Old English *lax (fish); Russian losos; Polish losos; Estonian lohe, lohi; Czec losos] Yet we find that even many Germanic languages do not have this word for ‘salmon’ or ‘fish’: [Dutch zalm and Frisian salm ‘salmon’. Italic and Celtic languages also have salmo-. Hence ‘salm’ seems to be a Basque substratal word in west/ southwest Europe.]
Bogusness of Thieme’s Argument
Pokorny (la - 653) and other Indo-Europeanists should not have included this word in the list of Indo-European at all, because this word lachs (meaning salmon) is found only in the Germanic branch and a few of Balto-Slavic languages. Out of the two families, it is found in only in Tocharian (Central Asia, extinct) and Ossetic (a south Central Asian Iranian dialect) with the meaning ‘fish’. But the word is entirely absent from all the European IE languages outside Germanic and Balto-Slavic region. A study of dictionaries of substratal languages of north Europe and the detailed etymology of Sanskrit word lAkSa in Sanskrit clarifies the arbitrary nature of the above theory. Study of Uralic-Altaic dictionaries clarifies that this word is not IE in origin, but in fact ‘Uralic-Altaic’ in origin, being present in all the languages of the Uralic and Altaic language families, reaching up to Japan and Dene-Yeniseian of North America: Uralic (Salmon): Finnish lohi, Hungarian lazac, Sami luossa. Dene-Yeniseian (North Amerindian): Loo (fish, Navajo) Lika (fish, Dena'ina) l'ook, xáat (salmon, Tlingit) (Source—Swadesh List for Dené-Yeniseian languages at Wictionary on the net).
See item no 45 in the table in the link below: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:Swadesh_lists_for_Den%C3%A9Yeniseian_languages Proto-Altaic: *lak`a ( ~ -k-) Meaning: a kind of big fish Mongolian: *laka Tungus-Manchu: *laka Japanese: *nakatai; [ru: (salmon)] Comments: Mong. form is also present in Turkmenistanian laGGa balɨq; Uzbek laqqa baliq `sheat-fish'. [Reference: Doerfer G., Mongolo-Tungusica, Wiesbaden, 1985; Source: Altaic Database on the net by Starostin.] http://starling.rinet.ru/cgibin/response.cgi?single=1&basename=/data/alt/altet&text_number=1172&root =config Proto-Mongolian: *laka Altaic etymology: Meaning: sheat-fish Written Mongolian: laqa (L 515) Khalkha: lax http://starling.rinet.ru/cgibin/response.cgi?single=1&basename=/data/alt/monget&text_number=+963&roo t=config Proto-Tungus-Manchu: *laka Altaic etymology: Meaning: name of a fish, goby Evenki: laka Negidal: laxana Literary Manchu: laqačan nisiχa, laqča nimaχa Ulcha: laqa Orok: lāqqa 'herring' Nanai: lāqa Oroch: laka Udighe: la`sā (Корм. 256) [Ref. Tsintsius, V. et al, A Comparative Dictionary of Tungus-Manchu Languages, Leningrad, 1975-1977: 1, 487, 488; Source: Starotsin’s Altaic Database on the web] http://starling.rinet.ru/cgibin/response.cgi?single=1&basename=/data/alt/tunget&text_number=1156&ro ot=config This survey makes it eminently obvious that the Germanic word laks is actually of Uralic-Altaic extraction. Uralic-Altaic was the linguistic substratum before Indo-
European advance (as R1a1a migration) into the north Caspian area, the RussianUkrainian steppe and north Black Sea region. Before closing it is desirable that we examine the Sanskrit word lAkSa and its etymology, whether it is related with Germanic laks even remotely or not. Monier-Williams Sanskrit Dictionary gives meanings of lAkSa as: a mark, sign or token. It also means to aim at target, aim, object or prey. One of the meanings ‘prey’ might include ‘fish’ also. One hundred thousand is only one of the many meanings of the word. LakSaNa is a related word meaning ‘feature, sign, view, mark’. LAkSA (lac, the red resin) has been named so because it is used for marking seals, ensignia etc. It has been known in the Atharva Veda, and it has become clear by now that Atharva Veda corresponds with the Indus-Harappa civilization, in which seals were used to mark trade cargos. A related word is lAJchana (lanchana), which means ‘stigma, burn mark of punishment’ etc. LakSya means ‘target, goal’. This whole set of Sanskrit words has derived from root lakSa-, meaning to see. After LGM when R1a1a migration took place from northwest India to Central Asia, this word meaning fish in Altaic entered (as substratal word) into Indo-European languages which came to this region of Uralic-Altaic languages. Thus laks- meaning ‘fish’ entered Tocharian, Ossetic, Russia, Czech, Polish, Germanic and Baltic.
Q.E.D. (quod erat demonstrandum).
Cognates for louse are present in Indian, Western European and Northern European branches only. In others there are entirely different words for louse: LikSA, likSa, likkA and nikSa (Sanskrit), likh and nikh (Hindi), louse (E), lice (E, pleural), lūs (Old E.), lous (Middle English), luis (Dutch), lūs (Old High German), lús (Icelandic), lus (Swedish, Danish), llau (Welsh), lous (Proto-Celtic) and lūs (PIE, Pokorny:692,335) (American Heritage Dictionary). However, cognates of likSa are present in many Central Asian (Altaic) languages: nisa (Mongolian), ni (Korean), nije (Tungus-Manchu). There are no cognates of ‘louse’ in southern European languages: Pedis (Latin), piojo (Spanish), pseira (ψείρα, Greek). Among the northern languages, not all have cognates for louse. Lithuanian has utele. It may be further noted that louse is an ecto-parasite of man since the days of first evolution of man. It originated in Africa, and it migrated exclusively with human
migration (Kittler). Hence direction of lice migration informs us about direction of human and hence linguistic migration. Interpretation: Heavy louse infestation is a problem of colder climate. The R1a1a migration took off just after the Last Glacial maximum, when it was colder. Hence this migration carried with it lice in almost every head, to the Central Asia, and northern Europe. Hence cognates are found in the Germanic languages. The word was borrowed into the Altaic languages most probably from Tocharian. However the word is not found in Lithuanian, meaning that the Balto-Slavic region was actually not the home of the Indo-European, hence some languages have retained the older substratal word for ‘insect’ to mean ‘louse’. Loss of cognates for lus or louse occurred from Italic languages because the migration took place along a warmer route, where lice infestation would be much less common, and the word lus was lost out from currency during the transit through Iran and West Asia. Absence of lus from the Balkans and Italic languages rules out Anatolia as the home of Proto-Indo-European.
Monkey and Elephant
The AIT claims, the presence in the common vocabulary of words denoting northern animals like the bear, wolf, elk, otter and beaver in India indicates a northern Urheimat; likewise, the absence of common terms for camel or elephant excludes tropical countries from being the Aryan home. However, Gamkrelidze and Ivanov gave list of cognate words of tropical animals in IE which had not been detected till then. Elst (3.3.4) mentions regarding monkey, “A word for “monkey” is common to Greek (kepos) and Sanskrit (kapi), and Gamkrelidze and Ivanov argue for its connection with the Germanic and Celtic word “ape”, which does not have the initial [k], for such k/mute alternation (which they derive from a preexisting laryngeal) is also found in other IE words, e.g. Greek kapros next to Latin aper, Dutch ever, “boar”. About elephant he mentions, “For “elephant”, they even found two distinct IE words: Sanskrit ibha, “male elephant”, corresponding to Latin ebur, “ivory, elephant”; and Greek elephant- corresponding to Gothic ulbandus, Tokharic *alpi, “camel”. In the second case, the “camel” meaning may be the original one, if we assume a migration through camelrich Central Asia to Greece, where trade contacts with Egypt made the elephant known; the word may be a derivative from a word meaning “deer”, e.g. Greek elaphos. In the case of ibha/ebur, however, we have a linguistic-paleontological argument for an Urheimat with elephants (Gamkrelidze and Ivanov also suggest a connection with Hebrew shen-habbim, “tusk-of-elephant”, “ivory”).” However ‘ivory’ too is derived from Sanskrit/ PIE ibha; Anglo-French ivorie from O.N. Fr ivurie; Egyptian ab, Coptic ebu.
Camel and Ostrich
Ostrich and its Cognates and other related words To understand the process of formation, evolution, modification and dissemination of words, we shall take example of a word ‘ostrich’ and some of its cognates: English ‘Ostrich’, Old English austridge, Old French ostruce, Late Latin struthio, Greek strouthio-kamilos (‘ostrich which looks like a camel’), Basque ostruka; Spanish avestruz (ave + struz= bird like a camel), Hungarian struck, Tamil oTTaka-paTci (meaning ‘the camel-bird’; oTTai and oTTakam are Tamil words for camel), Farsi shutur murg (shutur= camel, murg= bird; hence bird like a camel), Turkish devekusu (deve= camel, kushu= bird; hence bird like a camel). Thus most of the civilizations like Iranian, Tamil, Greek and Turkish, have termed ostrich ‘a bird like a camel’. Thus the word for ostrich in India may have been ushtra mriga (uSTra mRga) meaning ‘the bird like a camel’, which is surviving today in Farsi as ‘shutur murg’. There is ample archaeological evidence in India that ostriches lived in India once upon a time (Bhimbetka Ostrich shells). When Indo-Europeans came out of India, they lost the meaning ‘camel’ after Iran. Yet the word ‘ushtra-mriga’ was retained as ‘ostrich’ and its other cognates, often meaning any large bird. Thus cognates of ushtra or ushtraka (Sk., camel, buffalo) are: ostrich (E.), stork (E., a large north European bird)1, Hungarian struck (ostrich), Basque ostruka (ostrich), Farsi shutur (camel), Spanish struz (ostrich). Archeology and geology tell us that central and western India became a desert ecosystem for quite a long period, between 35,000 ybp and 20,000 ybp (Petraglia, 2009). Desert is the home of both, a camel and an ostrich. Ostrich beads and eggshells have been found from Batadombalena (Sri Lanka) and Patne (Maharashtra, India) dating back to 28,500 and 25,000 ybp respectively (Deraniyagala; Sali). A late Upper Paleolithic burial at Bhimbetka contains two ostrich-eggshell beads found near the neck of the man (Bednarik). The discovery of ostrich egg shells at over 40 sites in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, several of them dated by 14C, shows that ostrich, a bird adapted to arid climate, was widely distributed in India in prehistoric periods (Kumar). Hence Indians of those days must have had words for both ostrich and camel. In Latin word stru-thio, stru is from Sanskrit uSTra and thio may be from Hungarian teve meaning camel. Thus stru-thio is camel-camel, and Greek stru-thio-kamilos is camelcamel-camel (Sk. + proto-Uralic + Semitic). In this case, as the word traveled, it went on gathering up words having same meaning.
Some Nature related Terms
It has been noted that many of the geographical terms of Europe have PIE meanings that could have best originated in hotter countries. From PIE *ters- “dry” derived “land” in
A large bird of Europe, might have been thrust this name because of its gross resemblance with ostrich, in a country where ostrich is not found.
Italic (Lat. terra) and Celtic (OIr. tir) (Baldi and Richard:2187).2 A dry land is a common feature of northwest India. Arena (Latin harena, sand, desert, beach), areia (Portugese, sand) are cognates of Sanskrit araNya (rann in Hindi, like the Rann of Kutch). This word must have been retained by southern route migrants (J2b) who migrated through Iran and West Asia to reach Europe. However this word was lost by the northern route emigrants (R1a1a) to Europe, because there was no sandy regions in continuity in that route.
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