In quieter moments when palaeontologists are shown the opportunity to think on the current hot-spots for dinosaur discoveries thoughts may turn to the exciting fossil finds taken from Angola, or the job being undertaken to research in to the bizarre Dinosauria fauna that once roamed the prehistoric island of Hateg in southern Europe. Other scientists may discuss the amazing Early Cretaceous dinosaur discoveries that are being made around town of Winton in Queensland (Australia), however, it is essential that the fossil discoveries being made in India aren’t overlooked.
The Geology of India
India is just a huge country with extensive Mesozoic-aged formations that are just just starting to reveal proof of the amazing creatures that roamed what was to end up being the Asian sub-continent. The history of dinosaur discovery in India actually dates back a extended way. what dinosaur has 500 teeth The first recorded dinosaur find was made because country more than one hundred and eighty years ago, 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 1st dinosaur fossil described from India has been re-discovered, ironically between the collection 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 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 includes Upper Cretaceous aged rocks (Maastrichtian faunal stage). The Lameta Formation is fabled for its Late Cretaceous dinosaur fossils, many of them unique to this region. The fossils found include long-necked dinosaurs (Titanosauria) in addition to many Theropods including large Abelisaurids that rivalled the Tyrannosaurs with regards to size. It was this military expedition that found the first proof of dinosaurs in India. W. H. Sleeman is credited with getting 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 after the Reverend William Buckland had described the 1st dinosaur (Megalosaurus bucklandii) and several years before the eminent English anatomist Sir Richard Own established the Dinosauria as the definition of used to explain these “terrible, fearfully great lizards” ;.Sir Richard Owen established the definition of Dinosauria – the dinosaurs in April 1842, although he later alluded to the fact that he had develop the definition of earlier (August 1841).
The Indian specimen was really a single, caudal vertebra (part of the tail), of a big, herbivorous dinosaur. It was passed amongst a number of distinguished Victorian scientists until 1877 when no record of where it absolutely was could be found. This dinosaur fossil, which had lain undiscovered for millions of years was lost to science from 1877 until April 2012 when it absolutely was discovered by members of the Geological Survey of India who have been re-assessing the fossil heritage of the sub-continent. It was an opportunity discovery, the specimen having resided in the collection 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 were studied by the English naturalist and geologist Richard Lydekker, who’d joined the organisation that was to end up being the Geological Survey of India back in 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 just a holotype, a specimen upon which the first description of an organism is based. The specimen still has the first labels – 2193 and 2194 onto it which are clearly visible, the classification given to this fossil by Lydekker. The fossil was located between the vertebrate fossils in the catalogued collection made by Lydekker and stored on the first floor at the headquarters of the Geological Survey of India.
Negotiating with Museums
The Indian team are looking for more fossils that were presumed lost and to simply help to solve a puzzle which involves the Natural History Museum in London. Numerous British expeditions explored the fossil beds of the Lameta Formation in early area of the 20th Century. Many specimens were subsequently taken from India to the then British Museum (now the Natural History Museum), in London. Within an ongoing international research programme to map India’s vertebrate fossils, scientists are hoping to have the ability to identify Indian dinosaurs between the collection at the Natural History Museum.
The Geological Survey of India team are optimistic that any dinosaur specimens which they can trace to the Natural History Museum collection will undoubtedly be returned to India for further study and to be united with other Indian dinosaur specimens. Such as the fossil found by Lieutenant-Colonel W. H. Sleeman, one hundred and eight four years ago, many of these fossils are holotypes and the sole known fossil evidence for a number of dinosaur species that be seemingly unique to the sub-continent.
The caudal vertebra, now back in the catalogued collection of the Indian survey team represents the 1st Titanosaur fossil to be scientifically studied and therefore it’s regarded as a crucial specimen for the global research in to the evolutionary history of these Sauropod dinosaurs.
Perhaps most importantly, because the Indian economy strengthens and the country emerges as a worldwide 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 likely that Indian museums will step-up their efforts to possess important artifacts such as dinosaur fossils returned for their country as fascination with dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals grows.
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