DICRAEOSAURID DINOSAUR (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 - Env & Eco)

News-CRUX-10     8th August 2023        

Context: Scientists from IIT-Roorkee and Geological Survey of India (GSI) have discovered the oldest fossil remains of a long-necked, plant-eating dicraeosaurid dinosaur in Jaisalmer, suggesting that India was a major centre of dinosaur evolution. 

Key Points

  • The remains are 167 million years old and belong to a new species, unknown to scientists thus far. 
  • It has been named ‘Tharosaurus indicus’, the first name referring to the ‘Thar desert’ where the fossils were found, and the second after its country of origin.
  • The rocks in which the fossils were found are dated to be around 167 million years old, which makes this new Indian sauropod not only the oldest known dicraeosaurid but also globally the oldest diplodocoid (broader group which includes dicraeosaurids and other closely related sauropods). 
  • Theories so far had suggested that the oldest dicraeosaurid was from China (about 166-164 million years old).
  • Dicraeosaurus is a genus of diplodocoid sauropod dinosaur that lived in what is now Lindi Region, Tanzania during the late Jurassic period. 
  • The genus was named for the neural spines on the back of its neck. 
  • The first fossil was described by paleontologist Werner Janensch in 1914.
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