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 Thar Desert.
The study of fossil remains stated that the first-ever dicraeosaurid dinosaurs (Sauropods) found in India existed in the Jaisalmer region.
India was home to few Sauropods like Kotasaurus and Barapasaurus.
The Sauropod Dinosaurs’ fossile found belongs to the family ‘Dicraeosauridae’ and from the superfamily ‘Diplodocoidea.’
The rocks in which it was found are considered to be around 167 million years
The scientists named the dinosaur Tharosaurus indicus, with Tharo deriving from the Thar desert; saurus from the Greek ‘sauros’, or lizard; and indicus from its Indian origin.
These fossils belong to Early Jurassic and the Late Cretaceous period and very few have from the Middle or Late Jurassic period, which would be about 160-180 million years ago.
According to the studies, the dinosaurs can grow more than a hundred feet. There are many sauropod groups that are even longer than the blue whale.
Considering the fact that we already have more primitive sauropods in India and now the oldest diplodocoid, it is highly likely that India was the site of radiation of these diplodocoid dinosaurs to other parts of the world.
Significance of the finding:
The scientists reasoned that these diplodocoid sauropods could have originated in India during the Middle Jurassic period and used the land connections at the time to migrate to Madagascar, Africa, and South America.
After that they could have made their way to North America and the rest of the world.
That along with the fact that archaic sauropod fossils from during the start of the Jurassic period suggests that this diplodocoid group of sauropods could have originated in India.
The findings of the study indicate that India was also a major centre of dinosaur evolution.
About Sauropod dinosaurs
Sauropods first appeared on the earth during the Jurassic period, about 200 million years ago.
They were one of the most dominant clades of dinosaurs, surviving until the late Cretaceous period 65 million years ago, when the dinosaurs went extinct.
India was part of a group of continents in the southern hemisphere with Africa, South America, Madagascar, and Antarctica, together called Gondwanaland.