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Dickinsonia Fossil

  • 24 Feb 2023
  • 3 min read

Why in News?

Fossils of an extinct species, Dickinsonia, that scientists reported in a discovery from India’s Bhimbetka Rock Shelters in 2021 have been found to be a false alarm.

  • Researchers after a closer look at the site revealed the Dickinsonia fossil to really be wax smeared on a rock by a beehive.

What is Dickinsonia?

  • Dickinsonia is an extinct primitive animal that inhabited seabeds around Australia, China, Russia, Ukraine, in the Ediacaran period, 600-500 million years ago. It was classified as an animal after discovery of cholesterol molecules in the fossils.
  • It is believed to be one of the earliest animals to have existed on earth.

What are the Key Facts of Bhimbetka Rock Shelter?

  • History and Period Span:
    • The Bhimbetka rock shelters are an archaeological site in central India that spans the prehistoric Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods, as well as the historic period.
    • It exhibits the earliest traces of human life in India and evidence of Stone Age starting at the site in Acheulian times.
    • It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that consists of seven hills and over 750 rock shelters distributed over 10 km.
  • Discovery: The Bhimbetka rock shelters were founded by V S Wakankar in1957.
  • Location: It is located in Raisen District between Hoshangabad and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.
    • It is about 40 kilometres south-east of Bhopal in the foothills of the Vindhya Mountains.
  • Paintings: Some of the Bhimbetka rock shelters feature prehistoric cave paintings and the earliest are about 10,000 years old (c. 8,000 BCE), corresponding to the Indian Mesolithic.
    • Most of these are done in red and white on the cave walls.
    • A multitude of themes were covered in this form of rock art and it depicted scenes like singing, dancing, hunting and other common activities of the people staying there.
      • The oldest of the cave paintings in Bhimbetka is believed to be about 12,000 years ago.

Source: TH

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