In quieter moments when palaeontologists receive the chance to think on the present hot-spots for dinosaur discoveries thoughts may turn to the exciting fossil finds appearing out of Angola, or the job being undertaken to research into the bizarre Dinosauria fauna that after roamed the prehistoric island of Hateg in southern Europe. Other scientists may touch upon the amazing Early Cretaceous dinosaur discoveries that are being made around town of Winton in Queensland (Australia), however, it is important that the fossil discoveries being made in India are not overlooked.
The Geology of India
India is a huge country with extensive Mesozoic-aged formations that are just just starting to reveal evidence of the amazing creatures that roamed what was to end up being the Asian sub-continent. The annals of dinosaur discovery in India actually dates back a very long way. what dinosaur has 500 teeth The initial recorded dinosaur find was made for the reason that country several hundred and eighty years back, even before the term Dinosauria was coined and the Dinosauria established as a sub-Order of the Reptilia. After a hundred and thirty four years the 1st dinosaur fossil described from India has been re-discovered, ironically amongst the number of the Geological Survey of India at their Kolkata head-office.
Early Palaeontology on the Sub-Continent
In the days of the British Empire, when India was regarded because the “jewel in the crown”, the country was being mapped and explored by her colonial masters. In 1828, Lieutenant-Colonel W. H. Sleeman of the Bengal Army (later knighted and to become Major-General, after having a long and distinguished career in India), led a small expedition to Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh (central India). This military expedition using its accompanying geologists and cartographers mapped the strata in the area. This strata is now called the Lameta Formation and it contains Upper Cretaceous aged rocks (Maastrichtian faunal stage). The Lameta Formation is well-known for its Late Cretaceous dinosaur fossils, a lot of them unique to the region. The fossils found include long-necked dinosaurs (Titanosauria) as well as many Theropods including large Abelisaurids that rivalled the Tyrannosaurs when it comes to size. It had been this military expedition that found the first evidence of dinosaurs in India. W. H. Sleeman is credited with locating a twenty centimetre long, isolated bone from what was later to be termed a dinosaur.
Discovery of Titanosaurs
The discovery, made in 1828 was just four years following the Reverend William Buckland had described the 1st dinosaur (Megalosaurus bucklandii) and several years prior to the eminent English anatomist Sir Richard Own established the Dinosauria as the term used to spell it out these “terrible, fearfully great lizards” ;.Sir Richard Owen established the term Dinosauria – the dinosaurs in April 1842, although he later alluded to the fact he’d come up with the term earlier (August 1841).
The Indian specimen was actually an individual, caudal vertebra (part of the tail), of a large, herbivorous dinosaur. It had been passed amongst several distinguished Victorian scientists until 1877 when no record of where it was could be found. This dinosaur fossil, which had lain undiscovered for an incredible number of years was lost to science from 1877 until April 2012 when it was discovered by members of the Geological Survey of India have been re-assessing the fossil heritage of the sub-continent. It had been an opportunity discovery, the specimen having resided in the number of the Geological Society of India at their Kolkata head-office.
India’s first dinosaur fossil to be described was discovered by Dr. D. M. Mohabey and Dr. Subhasis Sen of the Geological Survey team. The dinner-plate sized specimen was amongst a collection of fossils that were studied by the English naturalist and geologist Richard Lydekker, who had joined the organisation that was to end up being the Geological Survey of India back in 1874. It had been Lydekker who formally named and described the specimen in 1877, establishing a brand new genus of dinosaur – Titanosaurus indicus. Â The newly, re-discovered tail bone is a holotype, a specimen upon which the original description of an organism is based. The specimen really has the original labels – 2193 and 2194 on it which are clearly visible, the classification given to the fossil by Lydekker. The fossil was located amongst the vertebrate fossils in the catalogued collection produced by Lydekker and stored on the first floor at the headquarters of the Geological Survey of India.
Negotiating with Museums
The Indian team are hoping to find more fossils that have been presumed lost and to help to resolve a puzzle which involves the Natural History Museum in London. Several British expeditions explored the fossil beds of the Lameta Formation in early the main 20th Century. Many specimens were subsequently removed from India to the then British Museum (now the Natural History Museum), in London. As part of an ongoing international research programme to map India’s vertebrate fossils, scientists are hoping to manage to identify Indian dinosaurs amongst the collection at the Natural History Museum.
The Geological Survey of India team are optimistic that any dinosaur specimens that they have the ability to trace to the Natural History Museum collection will be returned to India for further study and to be united with other Indian dinosaur specimens. Just like the fossil found by Lieutenant-Colonel W. H. Sleeman, a hundred and eight four years back, several fossils are holotypes and the only known fossil evidence for several dinosaur species that appear to be unique to the sub-continent.
The caudal vertebra, now back in the catalogued number of the Indian survey team represents the 1st Titanosaur fossil to be scientifically studied and as a result it’s regarded as a crucial specimen for the global research into the evolutionary history of the Sauropod dinosaurs.
Perhaps more importantly, because the Indian economy strengthens and the country emerges as an international super-power there is a solid demand for improved educational resources and an emphasis on India’s place and role in the scientific community. It is probable that Indian museums will step up their efforts to own important artifacts such as dinosaur fossils returned with their country as interest in dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals grows.
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