Fossils of ‘Dickinsonia’ found at Bhimbetka

What is the News?

Researchers discovered three fossils in Madhya Pradesh. These fossils are possibly of the earliest known living animal named ‘Dickinsonia’(550-million-year-old).

About the discovery:

  • The fossils are found on the roof of Auditorium Cave at Bhimbetka Rock Shelters. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Madhya Pradesh.
  • The fossil can be identified from the white leaf-like patches with a central vertebra (central midrib) and connecting veins.
  • These are the only Dickinsonia fossils available in the country. They are similar to those seen in South Australia.
  • The Dickinsonia fossils found in other parts of the world exceeded 4 feet in length. However, the Bhimbetka fossil is only 17 inches long.

Dickinsonia :

  • It is an extinct genus of basal animal.  They lived during the late Ediacaran period in what is now Australia, Russia, and Ukraine. Ediacaran period is marked at 575 to 541 million years ago.
  • It was first described by Reg Sprigg, the original discoverer of the Ediacaran biota in Australia. He named it after Ben Dickinson, then Director of Mines for South Australia.
  • It (roughly) resembles a bilaterally symmetrical ribbed oval. Its affinities are presently unknown. As per some theories, it is the oldest known animal, visible without a microscope.

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka:

  • It is a recognized world heritage site by UNESCO. It is located in the foothills of the Vindhya Mountains in the State of Madhya Pradesh.
  • The site spans the prehistoric Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods as well as the historic period.
  • Bhimbetka is also known as Bhima’s Lounge (Bhima was the second of the five Pandava princes in the Hindu epic Mahabharata).
  • Most of the paintings here are in red and white with occasional dashes of yellow and green. Their themes include events of everyday life, thousands of years ago.
  • The scenes depicted are mainly of dancing, playing music, hunting, horse and elephant riding, decorating bodies, and collecting honey. Household scenes too, constitute an occasional theme.

Source: The Hindu

Print Friendly and PDF