In quieter moments when palaeontologists get the opportunity to think on the current hot-spots for dinosaur discoveries thoughts may turn to the exciting fossil finds appearing out of Angola, or the work being undertaken to research in to the bizarre Dinosauria fauna that after roamed the prehistoric island of Hateg in southern Europe. Other scientists may discuss the amazing Early Cretaceous dinosaur discoveries that are being made around the city of Winton in Queensland (Australia), however, it is important that the fossil discoveries being produced in India aren’t overlooked.
The Geology of India
India is a huge country with extensive Mesozoic-aged formations that are just beginning to reveal evidence of the amazing creatures that roamed the thing that was to end up being the Asian sub-continent. The history of dinosaur discovery in India actually dates back a very long way. what dinosaur has 500 teeth The very first recorded dinosaur find was made for the reason that country multiple hundred and eighty years back, even before the definition of Dinosauria was coined and the Dinosauria established as a sub-Order of the Reptilia. After one hundred and thirty four years the initial dinosaur fossil described from India has been re-discovered, ironically between the number of the Geological Survey of India at their Kolkata head-office.
Early Palaeontology on the Sub-Continent
In the occasions of the British Empire, when India was regarded whilst the “jewel in the crown”, the country had been 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 having its accompanying geologists and cartographers mapped the strata in the area. This strata is currently called the Lameta Formation and it includes Upper Cretaceous aged rocks (Maastrichtian faunal stage). The Lameta Formation is well-known for its Late Cretaceous dinosaur fossils, many 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 was this military expedition that found the very first evidence of dinosaurs in India. W. H. Sleeman is credited with finding a twenty centimetre long, isolated bone from the thing that was later to be termed a dinosaur.
Discovery of Titanosaurs
The discovery, produced in 1828 was only four years following the Reverend William Buckland had described the initial dinosaur (Megalosaurus bucklandii) and several years ahead of the eminent English anatomist Sir Richard Own established the Dinosauria as the definition of used to spell it out these “terrible, fearfully great lizards” ;.Sir Richard Owen established the definition of Dinosauria – the dinosaurs in April 1842, although he later alluded to the truth that he’d come up with the definition of earlier (August 1841).
The Indian specimen was actually an individual, caudal vertebra (part of the tail), of a big, herbivorous dinosaur. It was passed amongst several distinguished Victorian scientists until 1877 when no record of where it had been could possibly be found. This dinosaur fossil, which had lain undiscovered for millions of years was lost to science from 1877 until April 2012 when it had been discovered by members of the Geological Survey of India who were re-assessing the fossil heritage of the sub-continent. It was 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 an accumulation fossils that had been 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 1874. It was Lydekker who formally named and described the specimen in 1877, establishing a new genus of dinosaur – Titanosaurus indicus. Â The newly, re-discovered tail bone is a holotype, a specimen upon which the initial description of an organism is based. The specimen really has the initial labels – 2193 and 2194 on it which are clearly visible, the classification given to the fossil by Lydekker. The fossil was located between the vertebrate fossils in the catalogued collection produced by Lydekker and stored on the very first floor at the headquarters of the Geological Survey of India.
Negotiating with Museums
The Indian team are searching for more fossils that were presumed lost and to simply help to resolve a puzzle which involves the Natural History Museum in London. A number of British expeditions explored the fossil beds of the Lameta Formation in early the main 20th Century. Many specimens were subsequently taken off India to the then British Museum (now the Natural History Museum), in London. Within a continuous international research programme to map India’s vertebrate fossils, scientists are hoping to be able to identify Indian dinosaurs between the collection at the Natural History Museum.
The Geological Survey of India team are optimistic that any dinosaur specimens that they can trace to the Natural History Museum collection is likely to be returned to India for further study and to be united with other Indian dinosaur specimens. Like the fossil found by Lieutenant-Colonel W. H. Sleeman, one hundred and eight four years back, many of these fossils are holotypes and the only known fossil evidence for several dinosaur species that seem to be unique to the sub-continent.
The caudal vertebra, now back the catalogued number of the Indian survey team represents the initial Titanosaur fossil to be scientifically studied and as a result it is regarded as a critical specimen for the global research in to the evolutionary history of those Sauropod dinosaurs.
Perhaps more to the point, whilst the Indian economy strengthens and the country emerges as a global super-power there’s a solid demand for improved educational resources and an increased exposure of India’s place and role in the scientific community. It is likely that Indian museums will step-up their efforts to have important artifacts such as for instance dinosaur fossils returned to their country as interest in dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals grows.
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