Andrew Collins Claims Native Americans Were Ruled by Hybrid Denisovan Giants Who Masterminded Mound Building
Andrew Collins has made something of a career out of rewriting the same book over and over again, with slightly different material keyed to whatever was the most recent archaeological controversy or discovery at the time of writing. It was not too long ago that Collins delivered a book on Göbelki Tepe (my review: Part 1 and Part 2), in which he suggested that the Denisovans, a different species in the genus Homo known from only a few bone fragments, are the mysterious Nephilim of the Bible and the civilizing god-kings who bequeathed the arts and sciences to a benighted line of Homo sapiens. Apparently delighted by this claim, Collins has rewritten the same material into a new book called Denisovan Dawn, coauthored by gigantologist and Edgar Cayce acolyte Greg Little, and due out from publishing dumpster fire Inner Traditions in September. Collins first published his new claims in August on Ancient Origins and is currently promoting a presentation he plans to give on the subject later this spring.
And what a surprise! Collins is planning to allege that the Denisovans hybridized human beings in the Americas, creating a non-human hybrid species of giants known as the Thunder People. For those of you keeping score, this is yet another allegation that some Native Americans are not really human.
This claim is almost identical to one made on Legends of the Lost with Megan Fox in December, and I imagine that it is no coincidence that this claim is emerging across the fringe world in many different places despite the manifest lack of physical evidence for Denisovans in North America, or, indeed, anywhere but in the single cave where a tiny number of bone fragments were uncovered. (DNA evidence shows Denisovan genes in populations as far afield as Aboriginal Australia.)
Collins is set to deliver a preview of the book’s material this spring, and he described what he intends to tell the New Living Expo in April in a posting on his website:
Andrew demonstrates how the recently-discovered extinct human population now called the Denisovans gifted our earliest ancestors the rudiments of civilization around 45,000 years ago. He shows also how in North America the Denisovans' hybrid descendents [sic] became the Animiki - the Thunderbirds or Thunder People of Algonquian tradition, as well as the giants who became the leaders and shamans of the Native American mound building cultures that thrived across the continent through till medieval times. Andrew looks at the different traditions of these Thunder People - what other names they were remembered as, their impact on the First Peoples of North America, and how even today vision questing can unlock their secret places across the United States.
Forgive me a moment of vulgarity, but having just finished the final revision on the manuscript of my own book on the racist myth of the Mound Builders, seeing Collins allege that Native Americans were under the tutelage of half-human hybrids who were responsible for their earthworks leaves me with little recourse but to say: What the flying fuck? It was bad enough when the mounds were attributed falsely to Vikings or to Jews or to a lost white race, but now Collins has extended the utter refusal to credit Native peoples with their own cultural achievements to assigning the piling of basketfuls of dirt atop one another to a whole different species of hominin. What makes this doubly disgusting is that reams of evidence exist connecting the mounds to Native Americans, while the Denisovans are known from one finger bone, two teeth, and a toe bone, all found in the same Russian cave.
The Animikii, known by many variant names and spellings, are a type of Algonquian mythological being, but they are not generally people. They are Thunder Birds, and it is believed that thunder is the sound of the beating of their massive wings. Presumably, Collins is thinking of the Pèthakhuweyok (many spelling variations exist), the mythic Algonquian “thunder spirits” who are storm spirits that live in the sky and have the form of eagles or humans with eagle heads. Even this description is a generalization. The Lenape, for example, are said to envision the thunder spirits as gigantic turkeys or partridges that live on mountaintops. I found only a very few references to the Thunder People as fully human in form, and none that identified the Thunder Birds (Animikii) with the Thunder People. Collins bases his claim on one 1923 report about the Animikii by Alanson Skinner that “some maintain that they resemble human beings or, at least, are anthropomorphic at times” and wear feathered pants. It’s a thin thread upon which to hang an entire theory of Denisovan survival on another continent for 45,000 years. Collins claims that Thunderbirds could shape-shift into human form and even marry humans, but when I traced back his source (an encyclopedia), I found that this claim referred only to thunderbird myths of the Pacific Coast, not to the Algonquian thunderbirds of the East. Collins conflates without explanation.
Collins argues that because some stories suggest that thunder birds were shapeshifters that therefore they are Denisovan-Neanderthal hybrids who wore feather pants or capes to appear birdlike. This is a bit of euhemerism that would have done Dionysus Schytobrachion proud. (Dionysus explained, bizarrely, that the Golden Fleece was the gilded skin of a man named Mr. Ram.) Collins “proposes that earthly Animiki' are a memory of Denisovan and arguably Denisovan-Neanderthal-modern human groups that thrived in parts of North America through until the first millennia BC, when they became the extremely tall ruling elites and shamans of the Adena mound-building culture (the so-called "Adena elite" theory).” He refers to the controversial idea, once widely accepted, that the Adena were hierarchical and had a ruling elite. However, this view has been challenged by new evidence, and there is no evidence for “Giants” in Adena times, let alone a ruling elite of hybrid half-human giants. The best-preserved image of an Adena shaman, a carved pipe found in Ohio, depicts a normal-looking human. While the intended scale of the human can’t be determined from the image, he appears on the stocky side of average and doesn’t bear any indication of being depicted as a giant.
It goes without saying that no physical evidence of Neanderthals or Denisovans has ever been found in North America. Collins argues that the evidence can be found in the fact that some Native Americans have genes traceable to Denisovans. This really proves nothing about North American populations since, as ought to be obvious, Native Americans also have genes traceable back to other ancestral Asian populations, none of which was required to be present in North America to have had their genes carried into the continent when Native peoples crossed over.
Collins goes on to claim that the Thunder People—the Denisovan hybrids—were able to break down the barriers between dimensions by accessing a portal in the Cygnus constellation, which may be entered at key power locations on the Earth, particularly Skinwalker Ranch. Regular readers will remember Skinwalker Ranch as the desolate patch of Utah real estate where Robert Bigelow’s team of UFO hunters came to believe that flying saucers were practical joke-playing poltergeists, and which is currently under development as a tourist attraction under its new owner.
It’s a good thing that my Mound Builder book only goes up to the early twentieth century, or else I’d have to write a whole new chapter for this nonsense.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter, The Skeptical Xenoarchaeologist, for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.