10 Aug 2023

Rajasthan: Plant-eating Dinosaurs Once Roamed In Jaisalmer, Oldest Fossil Remains Found

Scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee and the Geological Survey of India (GSI) have discovered the oldest fossil remains of a plant-eating dinosaur in Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer.  This proves these giants long back roamed the Thar desert. 

The dinosaur has been named Tharosaurus indicus after the desert and is the oldest known member of a family of the ancient creatures called Diplodocoidea. 

Older than fossils found in China

Scientists said that the Throsaurus found in the desert had a long spine and a solid tip on the head. These fossils are older than the fossils found in China.

A more famous member of the same family is Diplodocus, made popular by blockbuster movies like Jurassic Park.

16.7 crore years ago world's oldest vegetarian dinosaurs used to live in Jaisalmer

Even though there is Thar desert in Jaisalmer today, but 16.7 crore years ago, the world's oldest vegetarian dinosaurs used to live here.

Geological Survey of India (GSI) scientists Debasish Bhattacharya, Krishna Kumar, Pragya Pandey and Triparna Ghosh started the research in 2018. During research in the hills of Jethwai village of the district, fossils of the oldest herbivorous dinosaur Therosaurus were found. Fossils of dinosaur spine, neck, trunk, tail and ribs were found in larger number.

Throsaurus  used to be about 40 feet long

Throsaurus  used to be about 40 feet long. This family of dinosaurs comes under the genus Diplodocoidea. No diplodocoid fossil had been found before in India.

Indian fossils were older than the Chinese ones 

Prior to Throsaurus, fossils of dichreosaurids found in China were thought to be the oldest. They were 16.6  crore to 16.4 crore years old. The latest discovery in India has left China's fossil behind by 10 to 30 lakh years. According to scientists, adding all these discoveries, there is strong evidence that the Indian subcontinent was the center of origin and evolution of diplodocoid dinosaurs.

Scientists in the past had argued that such dinosaurs might have originated in modern-day China and Americas, but the IIT-GSI researchers team observed that Indian fossils were older than the Chinese ones by 1 to 30 lakh years. “That is a significant difference,” scientists said.

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