Fossils of ‘Dickinsonia’ found at Bhimbetka

CONTEXT:

  • A new discovery has been published in a journal, Gondwana Research as researchers have discovered three fossils of the earliest known living animal — the 550-million-year-old ‘Dickinsonia’ — on the roof of the Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, about 40 km from Bhopal.

NEW FINDING:

  1. Fossils have been from the white leaf-like patches with a central vertebra (central midrib) and connecting veins.
  2. One fossil is 17 inches long, the other two are much smaller.
  3. The new discoveries can be seen right at the beginning of the ‘Auditorium Cave’, the first of such caves at Bhimbetka, located about 3.5 metres above the ground.
  4. They were the only such fossils available in the country, and were similar to those seen in south Australia.
  5. This is further proof of the similar paleoenvironments and confirms assembly of Gondwanaland by the 550 Ma (mega annum), but not reconstructions adjusted for true polar wander.

 

BHIMBETKA ROCK SHELTERS:

  1. Archaeological site in central India that spans the prehistoric ages Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods, as well as the historic period.
  2. Exhibits the earliest traces of human life in India and evidence of Stone Age starting at the site in Acheulian times.
  3. LocationRaisen District (Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh)
  4. UNESCO World Heritage Site that consists of seven hills and over 750 rock shelters distributed over 10 km (6.2 mi).
  5. At least some of the shelters were inhabited more than 100,000 years ago. The rock shelters and caves provide evidence of a “rare glimpse” into human settlement and cultural evolution from hunter-gatherers, to agriculture, and expressions of prehistoric spirituality.
  6. Themes such as animals, early evidence of dance and hunting.
  7. Has the oldest-known rock art in India, as well as is one of the largest prehistoric complexes.