Nittaewo Ape Men of Sri Lanka

Ape Men Human Evolutionary avatars

On the Island of Sri Lanka, which in ancient times was linked to the mainland via Ramas Bridge which the Vanara Ape Men are said to have constructed, there are legends of a race known as the Nittaewo (or Nittevo). The Modern day Veddhas a tribal people of Sri Lanka claim that the Nittaewo engaged in war with them as recently as the 1700s and were exterminated.

Roman Historian, Pliny the Elder [1st century AD] mentioned the existence of 'beast-men' in Ceylon who were also dwarfs. Although in all likelihood he was writing about the Veddhas who are also small in stature but not as tiny as the Nittaewo.

According to the Veddha tradition recorded by Frederick Lewis [1857-1930] 1. The Nittaewo walked erect with a bipedal gait and were in the vicinity of 3 feet tall . They had no tails nor were they clothed. They were cave dwellers who also lived in trees at times. They lived in small family 'gangs' of 10 to 20 and 'troops' of 40 or more [2]. They survived by hunting small animals and attacked any Veddhas that wandered into their territory. Veddhas described them as vicious, cannibalistic dwarfs. They did not speak like Homo sapiens, but as per legend had a language that sounded like birds.

As per an account from British explorer Hugh Nevill [1847 to 1897] they lived in a constant state of warfare with the Veddha people. At some point these cannibalistic dwarfs began hunting Veddha children. In a story reminiscent of the last of the Sitecah in North America, the Veddha trapped the Nittaewo in a cave and blocked its entrance with fire, killing them all.

Nevill attempts to link the Nittaewo with a group of folk known as the Niadis of Cochon a rejected slave population whose habits are similar to that assigned the Nittaewo [3]. Although his theory has been rebuked by many fellow researchers.

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Following WWII [1945] primatologist W.C. Osman Hill [1901 - 1975] undertook an expedition to the region to search for living Nittaewo, but failed. Hill theorized that the Nittaewo were actually Homo erectus, which in his day were referred to as either Java Man or Pithecanthropus erectus.

In 1963 A.T.Rambukwella led an expedition to the Mahalenama area in North Eastern Sri Lanka to search for the Nittaewo, he too failed. Rambukwella theorized them to be Australopithecus. [4,5]

A Spanish anthropologist, claims to have spotted a Nittaewo in Sri Lanka in 1984. However, it is believed he mistook a nomadic tribesman for a Nittaewo.

In October 2004, the hobbit fossils were discovered in Idonesisia, known as Homo floresiensis after the Island on which they were discovered. Some have speculated that the flores man and the Nittaewo may be one and the same species. Is it not also possible that the Vanara Ape Men of ancient legend who were from the very same region could not also be one and the same with the Nittaewo.


1. Notes on an exploration in Eastern Uva and Souther Panama Pattu In the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Ceylon 1914 by Frederick Lewis.

2. The Land of the Permauls: Or Cochin, Its Past and Its Present By Gregory Forth, Pg. 184

3. Images of the Wildman in Southeast Asia: An Anthropological Perspective by Francis Day Pgs. 333 - 338

4. God-Apes and Fossil Men: Paleoanthropology of South Asia By K. Kennedy

5. The Legendary Pygmies of Ceylon. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Ceylon.1963 by Capt. A.T.Rambukwella

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