Fossils of world’s oldest animal discovered in Bhimbetka
The fossils of the world’s earliest known living animal, Dickinsonia, can be recognized from the white leaf-like patches with a central vertebra and connecting veins.
The three fossils of the world’s earliest known living animal- the 550 million years old Dickinsonia- have been discovered by the researchers on the roof of the Bhimbetka rock shelters. They are about 40 km from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
The fossils of the oldest animal can be recognized from the white leaf-like patches with a central vertebra and connecting veins. While the one fossil of the animal is 17 inches long, the other two are much smaller.
The new discoveries can be seen right at the beginning of the ‘Auditorium Cave’, which dates back to 570 million years.
They are the first of such caves at Bhimbetka, a heritage site of UNESCO, which is located about 3.5 meters above the ground. The discoveries have also been published in a journal, Gondwana Research.
About the world’s oldest animal ‘Dickinsonia’:
Dickinsonia, the earliest known living animal, is an extinct genus of a basal animal, which reportedly, lived during the late Ediacaran period. The fossils have been known only in the form of imprints and casts in the sandstone beds.
Discovery of the fossil:
The fossil of Dickinsonia was lying hidden in plain sight and was discovered accidentally by the two experts from the Geological Survey of India. They had gone to explore Bhimbetka ahead of the 36th International Geological Congress.
Reportedly, they primarily found the leaf-like impression above the ground, which had almost perfectly blended with the rock. According to the experts, it could also have easily mistaken for pre-historic rock art.
The experts of GSI were able to find the imprints of the newly discovered fossil. They are usually preserved as the negative impressions on the sandstone beds’ bases.
First specimen of Dickinson fossil:
The first specimen of the fossil of the world’s oldest animal was discovered in South Australia. Although the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh were found 64 years ago, the Dickinson fossil had managed to remain hidden and undetected.