In quieter moments when palaeontologists receive the chance to reflect on the current hot-spots for dinosaur discoveries thoughts may turn to the exciting fossil finds appearing out of Angola, or the task being undertaken to research to the bizarre Dinosauria fauna that when roamed the prehistoric island of Hateg in southern Europe. Other scientists may comment on the amazing Early Cretaceous dinosaur discoveries which can be being made around town of Winton in Queensland (Australia), however, it is essential that the fossil discoveries being produced in India are not overlooked.
The Geology of India
India is really a huge country with extensive Mesozoic-aged formations which can be just beginning to reveal proof the amazing creatures that roamed that which was to end up being the Asian sub-continent. The real history of dinosaur discovery in India actually extends back a very long way. what dinosaur has 500 teeth The initial recorded dinosaur find was created for the reason that country several hundred and eighty years back, even before the word 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 amongst the assortment 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 nation had been mapped and explored by her colonial masters. In 1828, Lieutenant-Colonel W. H. Sleeman of the Bengal Army (later knighted and becoming a Major-General, following 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 referred to as the Lameta Formation and it consists of Upper Cretaceous aged rocks (Maastrichtian faunal stage). The Lameta Formation is fabled for its Late Cretaceous dinosaur fossils, a lot of them unique to this region. The fossils found include long-necked dinosaurs (Titanosauria) along with many Theropods including large Abelisaurids that rivalled the Tyrannosaurs when it comes to size. It was this military expedition that found the very first proof dinosaurs in India. W. H. Sleeman is credited with finding a twenty centimetre long, isolated bone from that which was later to be termed a dinosaur.
Discovery of Titanosaurs
The discovery, produced in 1828 was just four years after the Reverend William Buckland had described the initial dinosaur (Megalosaurus bucklandii) and several years before the eminent English anatomist Sir Richard Own established the Dinosauria as the word used to explain these “terrible, fearfully great lizards” ;.Sir Richard Owen established the word Dinosauria – the dinosaurs in April 1842, although he later alluded to the fact that he’d produce the word earlier (August 1841).
The Indian specimen was really just one, caudal vertebra (part of the tail), of a sizable, herbivorous dinosaur. It was passed amongst several distinguished Victorian scientists until 1877 when no record of where it was might be found. This dinosaur fossil, which had lain undiscovered for countless 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 was a chance discovery, the specimen having resided in the assortment 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 had been studied by the English naturalist and geologist Richard Lydekker, who had joined the organisation that has been 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 really a holotype, a specimen upon which the first description of an organism is based. The specimen still has the first labels – 2193 and 2194 on it which are clearly visible, the classification given to this fossil by Lydekker. The fossil was located amongst 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 looking for more fossils that have been presumed lost and to greatly 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 the first part of the 20th Century. Many specimens were subsequently taken off India to the then British Museum (now the Natural History Museum), in London. Included in a continuing international research programme to map India’s vertebrate fossils, scientists are hoping to have the ability to identify Indian dinosaurs amongst the collection at the Natural History Museum.
The Geological Survey of India team are optimistic that any dinosaur specimens they are able to 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 back, many of these 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 assortment of the Indian survey team represents the initial Titanosaur fossil to be scientifically studied and as such it is regarded as a vital specimen for the global research to the evolutionary history of these Sauropod dinosaurs.
Perhaps more to the point, whilst the Indian economy strengthens and the nation emerges as a worldwide super-power there’s a powerful demand for improved educational resources and a focus on India’s place and role in the scientific community. It is probable that Indian museums will intensify their efforts to possess important artifacts such as for instance dinosaur fossils returned to their country as fascination with dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals grows.
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