Thursday 31 January 2013

Rajasaurus-The Indian dinosaurus

It was 1981 and two geologists from the Geological Survey of India (GSI) were mapping Rahioli and surrounding areas of Kheda district in Gujarat.
When the geologists, G.N. Dwivedi and D.M. Mohabey, reached a quarry near Rahioli, workers of quarry belonging to a private cement factory showed them some round or circular balls.
The geologists found that the structures were fossiled eggs of dinosaurus.
Many such eggs were unearthed  from a limestone bed near the quarry. Apart from the eggs, they also found several fossiled bones.
(What they did not know was that they had stumbled upon the discovery of an indigenous type of dinosaurus, which was native to the Indian sub-continent only.)
An year later, another geologist from the GSI, Suresh Srivastava, of the paleontology division of Jaipur, collected many fossiled bones of the dinosaurus. He also marked the precise coordinates of the area. This work went on from 1982 to 1984. Ashok Saini, a paleontologist at Panjab University, was also involved in the search for fossiled eggs and bones.
Subsequently, Suresh Srivastava and U B Mathur, under supervision of S. C Pant, cleaned up the fossiled skeletal parts of the dinosauras. Several papers came to be published in national and international journals about these fossils.
In 2001, the American Institute of  Indian Research, New Delhi and the National Geographic Society of USA sponsored further research on these fossils and the fossil sites. Under the project, two US researchers, Paul Sereno and Jeff Wilson, reconstructed the collection of dinosaur bones gathered in 1983 and 1984. The team came to the conclusion that the dino found in Gujarat closely resembled the one found in Madagascar.
Later, fossils of  the same type of dinos were found in Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. This type of dine came to be named as  Rajasaurus Narmadensis.
The Rajasaurus are abelisaurs and so far it is known to have occurred only in the Indian peninsula. Research so far has revealed that the Rajasaurus was alive when the Indian sub-continent had separated itself from the Gondwana landmass. After separating itself, the Indian sub-continent was moving north.
The Rajasaurus was at least 30 foot or nine metres in length. It was  a horned carnivore that hunted other dinosaurs about 65 million years ago.
The full name of the Indian dino is Rajasauras Narmadensis. While Rajasaurus means princely lizard,  Narmadensis means dinosaur from the Narmada river.
Today, Gujarat boasts of having among the most abundant of dinosaur hatcheries in the world. Geologists say that the presence of dinosaur eggs, bones and skin impressions suggest a widespread presence of dinosaurs.

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