In quieter moments when palaeontologists are given the opportunity to reflect on the present hot-spots for dinosaur discoveries thoughts may turn to the exciting fossil finds taken from Angola, or the task being undertaken to research into 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 important that the fossil discoveries being manufactured in India aren’t overlooked.

The Geology of India

India is a huge country with extensive Mesozoic-aged formations that are just just starting to reveal proof the amazing creatures that roamed that which was to become the Asian sub-continent. The annals of dinosaur discovery in India actually dates back a lengthy way. what dinosaur has 500 teeth The initial recorded dinosaur find was created in that country multiple hundred and eighty years back, even before the word Dinosauria was coined and the Dinosauria established as a sub-Order of the Reptilia. After 100 and thirty four years the very first dinosaur fossil described from India has been re-discovered, ironically amongst the collection of the Geological Survey of India at their Kolkata head-office.

Early Palaeontology on the Sub-Continent

In the times of the British Empire, when India was regarded because the “jewel in the crown”, the nation 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 a Major-General, after a long and distinguished career in India), led a tiny 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 currently known 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 with regards to size. It absolutely was this military expedition that found the 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, manufactured in 1828 was just four years after the Reverend William Buckland had described the very first dinosaur (Megalosaurus bucklandii) and many years prior to the eminent English anatomist Sir Richard Own established the Dinosauria as the word used to describe these “terrible, fearfully great lizards” ;.Sir Richard Owen established the word Dinosauria – the dinosaurs in April 1842, although he later alluded to the truth that he had produce the word earlier (August 1841).

The Indian specimen was really a single, caudal vertebra (part of the tail), of a sizable, herbivorous dinosaur. It absolutely was passed amongst several distinguished Victorian scientists until 1877 when no record of where it was could possibly be found. This dinosaur fossil, which had lain undiscovered for an incredible number of 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 absolutely was the 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 of fossils that had been studied by the English naturalist and geologist Richard Lydekker, who had joined the organisation that was to become the Geological Survey of India in 1874. It absolutely was Lydekker who formally named and described the specimen in 1877, establishing a brand new genus of dinosaur – Titanosaurus indicus. Â The newly, re-discovered tail bone is a holotype, a specimen upon which the original description of an organism is based. The specimen really has the original labels – 2193 and 2194 about 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 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 hoping to find more fossils that were presumed lost and to greatly help to resolve a puzzle which involves the Natural History Museum in London. Numerous British expeditions explored the fossil beds of the Lameta Formation in early the main 20th Century. Many specimens were subsequently taken off India to the then British Museum (now the Natural History Museum), in London. Included in a continuous international research programme to map India’s vertebrate fossils, scientists are hoping to be able to identify Indian dinosaurs amongst the collection at the Natural History Museum.

The Geological Survey of India team are optimistic that any dinosaur specimens that 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. Like the fossil found by Lieutenant-Colonel W. H. Sleeman, 100 and eight four years back, a number of these fossils are holotypes and the sole known fossil evidence for several dinosaur species that appear to be unique to the sub-continent.

The caudal vertebra, now in the catalogued collection of the Indian survey team represents the very first Titanosaur fossil to be scientifically studied and as such it’s regarded as a vital specimen for the global research into the evolutionary history of those Sauropod dinosaurs.

Perhaps more importantly, because the Indian economy strengthens and the nation emerges as an international super-power there is a strong demand for improved educational resources and an increased exposure of 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 for example dinosaur fossils returned for their country as interest in dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals grows.

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