100 million-years-old bones of Sauropods dinosaur found in Meghalaya

The latest findings also make Meghalaya the fifth state in India after Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra and the only state in the North East to report Sauropod bones having titanosaurian affinity.

Sauropod Dinosaur fossil
Sauropod Dinosaur fossil

The researchers have identified the fossil bone fragments of the long-necked dinosaurs, known as Sauropods from an area around West Khasi Hill Districts in Meghalaya. The fossil dates back to about 100-million years.

The findings, which are yet to be published, were made during a recent field trip by the researchers from the Palaeontology Division of the Geological Survey of India in the North-East Region.

The researchers of the Geological Survey of India have also noted that this is the first record of sauropods of the probable Titanosaurian origin that has been discovered in the region.

The latest findings also make Meghalaya the fifth state in India after Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra and the only state in the North East to report Sauropod bones having titanosaurian affinity.

Sauropods dinosaur:

Sauropods dinosaurs were the ones with a very long neck, small heads, long tails, relative to the rest of their body, and four-thick pillar-like legs. Sauropods are notable for the enormous sizes attained by some of the species. The group includes the largest animals to have ever lived on the land.

Titanosaurs were a diverse group of the Sauropod Dinosaurs. They included genera from Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Australia, Europe, and Antarctica.

Discovery of the fossil bone fragments in Meghalaya:

The Senior Geologist of the Palaeontology Division of GSI, Arindam Roy has informed that the dinosaur bones from Meghalaya were reported by the Geological Survey of India in 2001. However, they were ill-preserved and were fragmentary in order to understand its taxonomic identification.

He added that the present findings of the fossil bones are during the fieldwork in 2019-2020 and 2020-21. The last visit of the team of GSI to the region was in February 2021. The fossils that are found are presumably of the Late Cretaceous period which is about 100 million years ago.

The Senior Geologist noted that the best-preserved fossils are the limb bones. He also added the type of curvature, development of the lateral and proximal margins of the partially preserved bones are also indicative of it being humerus bone.

He further noted that the conclusions are drawn from the preliminary studies and informed that the detailed work is going on.

Identification becomes difficult due to poor preservation:

The fossil bone fragments of Sauropods were discovered by the GSI team from very poorly sorted, purplish to greenish very coarse-grained arkosic sandstone. It was interlaid with pebbly beds.

More than  25-disarticulated, mostly fragmentary bone specimens were recovered, which are of different sizes and also occur as isolated specimens but some of them were found in close proximity with each other.

Because of the poorly preserved, fragmentary, and incomplete nature of the bone, the taxonomic identification up to the genus level is difficult. Most of the recovered bones are partially petrified and are partially replaced.

Therefore, as per the researchers, only three of the best-preserved bones can be studied. The largest one is partially preserved limb bone of 55 cm and is comparable with the average humerus length of the titanosaurids.

Another incomplete limb bone found is 45 cm in length. It is comparable with the limb bones of the titanosauriform clade.

Cretaceous sauropod dinosaur in India:

The late cretaceous sauropod dinosaur in India generally belongs to the titanosaurian clade. It has been reported from the Lameta Formation of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Maharashtra, and Kallamedu Formation of Tamil Nadu.

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