Giants once walked the Earth and your own DNA can prove it.

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There may be some truth to the old legends of giants in just about every culture in the World.

The Norse (Vikings) called giants, “jötnar” pronounced “yoot-nar” (singular: jotunn or jotun). They are also known to the Norse as the þursar (singular þurs, pronounced “thurs”), which are a race of giants that live in a place the Norse call Jötunheimr.

Gate to Jötunheimr
Gate to Jötunheimr

Jötunheimr literally translates from Old Norse as “Giant Home.” There was also referencing to Utgard (Old Norse Útgarðr) in Norse Mythology as being the home of giants.  There is much reference by the Norse of giants and where they live.

Jötunheimr, or rather Jotunheim, was a place high in the mountains where men could not go. There is an actual reference to this location in Southern Norway called the Jotunheimen Mountains which is part of the Scandinavian Mountains.

Mountains and glaciers of Jotunheimen national park near Spiterstulen, Norway
Mountains and glaciers of Jotunheimen national park near Spiterstulen, Norway

The high mountains of Jotunheim is where the Norse believed the majority of giants lived.

In Norse mythology and in their Sagas, the Norse spoke quite frequently about the presence or rather nuisance of giants. Mostly there is mention of the frost giants, but there were many other types of giants and they came with a variety of names and descriptions that went from trolls, to ogres, to many other large humanoid beings.

The Norse were very animate about the fact there were indeed giants sharing the Earth with them. So much so, that they mentioned some of the gods, kings, and a few heroes even marrying them and producing human/giant hybrids as offspring.


The Norse also mentioned that it was for the better of mankind to slay the giants and try to rid them from the World. From about every Norse account, there was always conflict and competition between giants and humankind.

This brings us to an interesting theory. Perhaps there is some truth to the presence of giants some time in our history.

We all know that myths tend to have some truth mixed in with them. Quite often myths are made up to explain unknown things at the time and are often quite hard for the modern thinker to believe.


Myths come from oral histories, beliefs, and traditions that are passed on generation to generation. Myths were created and passed down many generations as with other knowledge and skills such as hunting, fishing, etc..

Now, we know that different early races of humans inhabited the Earth at the same time as modern humans (homo sapiens) and one of the questions that has formed in the minds of modern humans today is: what happened to these other races of humans and what has happened to the Neanderthal man we find so much evidence of?

If you haven’t already figured out where I may be going with this, I will lay it out. I understand that this theory may appear to be a bit far fetched, but be rest assured that it will make perfect sense in a moment.


Let us speculate that homo sapiens (humans) were in contact with the Neanderthals. It is not unheard of, in fact we’ve found evidence that shows that the two races knew of and did in fact have regular contact with each other.

But what we don’t know is what happened to the Neanderthal. There’s really no reason for them to have become extinct and disappear from the planet. Did they simply die out from Natural Selection as the World changed after the Ice Age? Were they not able to make the necessary changes in diet and habitat to adapt and survive?

Or were they simply killed off by the Homo Sapiens (humans) that came to the area?

Was it species competition for resources? The later argument is strong as the conflict for food, hunting areas, and simply encroaching on each other’s territories would have caused a struggle where the homo sapiens prevailed in the conflict. There is also a third theory that goes along with the killing off of the Neanderthals for territory and resources. This theory says that the Neanderthals/Giants were also mated out of existence.

Skadi giant

We quite possibly killed and bred the Neanderthal out of existence. This also highlights some of the Old Norse Myths and religion that claim the Norse gods (often Norse kings or heroes) had married and bred with the ‘giants.’

The Neanderthal genome project confirmed this while examining mitochondrial DNA comparing Neanderthals and modern humans. The project discovered that there is a percentage of about 1 – 4% of Neanderthal DNA that make up part of genetic contribution of non-African modern humans.

Read about the Neanderthal genome project
Read about the Neanderthal genome project

This means that there is about 1% to 4% Neanderthal DNA in non-African modern humans living today.  We had definitely bred with the Neanderthal.

This may also explain why so many Scandinavians are so tall – although a bit far fetched as that being the reason why, but it definitely wouldn’t surprise me. In the myths, it’s said that the gods bred with the giants and created hybrid mixes. Then later, killed most of the jötnar/giants off as enemies to mankind. This makes sense as to what happened to the jötnar (Giants, Trolls, Ogres and other names they were referred to as). By description of these beings from myths and tales, we’re lead to great possibility that the jötnar or giants referred to by the Norse were none other than the Neanderthals.neanderthal

This theory can even be expanded that the Neanderthals were not only the giants (jötnar) that humans knew of, but also other now extinct races similar to the Neanderthal such as the Denisova hominins recently discovered in Siberia.


 Study of the nuclear genome of this species of hominin suggests that Denisovans (Denisova hominins) share a common origin with Neanderthals.  Denisovans ranged from Siberia to South-East Asia and they had lived among and interbred with the ancestors of some modern humans.  There is about 3% to 5% of the DNA of Melanesians and Aboriginal Australians that derive from Denisovans.

denisovan giants

The Denisovans also could be what the early Native Americans referred to as Sasquatch (Big Foot) and what early Asians referred to as a Yeti.  There is a very strong possibility that Big Foot was indeed real, but died off with the Neanderthal and Denisovan.  Or perhaps, Big Foot is still there somewhere – defending his “Hide and Seek World Champion” title.

With all this new information, we now know that it is quite probable that the Neanderthals were in fact the Giants that the Norse (Vikings) and other cultures had written about in their histories, myths, and sagas.

Source: Kane, Njord. “Chapter 15 – The Jötnar (Giants).” The Vikings: The Story of a People. 2nd ed. Yukon: Spangenhelm, 2015. 261-264. Print. 

by Njord Kane © 2016 Spangenhelm Publishing

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