Dinosaur remains found in Maharashtra

Amravati (Maharashtra), Oct 19 : Fossilised dinosaur bones and eggs of gigantic creatures that measured around 18-20 metres and weighed 10-13 tonnes, have been discovered from the Salbardi area, around 60 km from here in eastern Maharashtra, a geologist said here Saturday.

The discoveries have been made after nearly six years of efforts by a team led by A.K.Srivastava and his doctorate student R.S.Mankar, both from the Department of Geology, SGB Amravati University.

"These remains have been found in the sedimentary rocks, geologically known as 'Lameta Formation' deposited during the Maastrichtian (Late Cretaceous) period," said Mankar.

Following detailed studies of the discovery, they have interpreted that around 66-71 million years ago, there was a huge lake in which these Lameta sediments were deposited, Srivastava said.

During that period, a species of dinosaur, Titanosaurus Colberti, belonging to the Sauropod Family also inhabited the region and laid the eggs, Mankar explained.

The dinosaurian remains now exist in the form of small fragments of bones and complete eggs of the animals, which are firmly fixed in the rocks and hence irretrievable, said Mankar.

The work on the bones and discovery has been published in the latest issue of the prestigious journal Current Science, Srivastava said.

From the finding, the geologists have presumed that the Titanosaurus Colberti was a giant reptile measuring around 18-20 metres long and weighing upto 13 tonnes.

It was herbivorous animal with a short and deep neck, long forelimbs and a short tail, but could not survive after the Late Cretaceous period due to hostile conditions which developed due to high temperatures and release of hazardous gases during the volcanic activity forming the Deccan Trap Basalt.

Mankar said this is not the first dinosaur remains in have been found in India and earlier, there have been discoveries from Nagpur, Chandrapur, and now Amravati in the state.

Besides, more finds have been made in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh and Kheda district of Gujarat, which has reported the largest number of discoveries in India.

"The latest discovery in Amravati highlights its presence from a new area indicating that these giant creates ruled much geographical area than was previously believed. Accordingly, it has attracted the attention of the country's scientific community working in dinosaur related areas," Srivastava said.

--IANS (Posted on 20-10-2013)

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