A team of researchers has accidentally found the planet’s oldest animal fossils on Maihar Sandstone at the prehistoric caves of Bhimbetka, India. These prehistoric nature rock caves are located in the Madhya Pradesh state of India near the state’s capital Bhopal.
In the famous Auditorium Cave of Bhimbetka, the team had come across an impression on the rock surface that looks like a leaf These fossils were present on the roof of the cave. According to the researchers, the fossil is similar to the genus Dickinsonia tenuis. As per fossil studies, the genus Dickinsonia tenuis belongs to the Ediacaran Member (Rawnsley Quartzite in South Australia). These fossils of Bhimbetka are also illustrating deformations because of lateral impingement, arcuate pieces missing, and alignment. Similar patterns are also generally observed in the Dickinsonia tenuis. This fossil is the first of its kind ever discovered in India. The fossil is 453 mm long. That’s why it is significant for India’s geological history. This new finding approves assemblage of Gondwanaland dates back to as early as 550 million years.
The Indian finding of Dickinsonia permits interpretation of biogeographic regions and scientific reconstructions of plate tectonics for the late Ediacaran geological period. In the geological studies, Ediacaran Period is known as the geological time period of 94 million years. It is the span between the end of the Cryogenian (635 million years BP) to the starting of the Cambrian (541 million years BP).
The research team comprises researchers from the Department of Earth Sciences (University of Oregon, Eugene), Bureau of Land Management (Denver), University of Witwatersrand, and Geological Survey of India.
The prehistoric caves of Bhimbetka are known for their longest human occupation. Humans inhabited this site in the Palaeolithic period. It is famous for its Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, and even historical material remains. The Bhimbetka complex is a UNESCO world heritage site. The ancient walls of the caves of the Bhimbetka depict the world’s oldest rock art traditions. The art mainly consists of pictographs. The Prehistoric site is discovered by VS wakankar in the mid of 20th century. Since then, a large number of researchers from the world is studying these caves.
For original research article. click on Gondwana Research