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Fossils of Stegodon elephant discovered from Shivalik Range in Saharanpur

The presence of Stegodon’s fossil has indicated the existence of lots of river channels and dense forests in the area at that time. Other fossils that existed with Stegodon’s were those of hippopotamus, giraffe, and horses.

Jun 22, 2020 11:20 IST
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Fossil of a Stegodon- an extinct elephant species known as Proboscideans- has been discovered from the Badshahi Bagh area of Shivalik Range in Saharanpur. Fossil is believed to be 5 to 8 million years old and has been discovered by the joint team of Wildlife Organisation World Wide Fund of Nature (WWF) and forest officials.

VK Jain, the chief conservator of Saharanpur division, was leading a team that was busy doing a trap camera survey for the counting of animals in the region when it came across the fossil. The team consisted of Senior Programme officer Devvrat Panwar, Dr. IP Bopanna, WWF, and Jain, landscape coordinator.

The presence of Stegodon’s fossil has indicated the existence of lots of river channels and dense forests in the area at that time. Other fossils that existed with Stegodon’s were those of hippopotamus, giraffe, and horses.

Forest Officials on discovering Fossil of Stegodon:

VK, Chief Conservator of Saharanpur Division stated that after discovering a strange object that looked like a fossil, the team brought it back to the back to the forest office and decided to seek the help of the fossil experts.

Fossil experts Dr. RK Sehgal, Scientist at Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun, and its retired scientist, Dr. AC Nanda, examined the fossil and compared it with the specimens of Stegodon which is displayed at the museum of the Institute. They then came to the conclusion that the fossil could be 5 to 8 million years old.

Sanjay Kumar, divisional commissioner, Saharanpur, described it as a great discovery and mentioned that it would pave the way for the further study of fossils in the country, especially in the Shivalik range as it is the first time that such an old fossil has been found in the area.

About discovered Fossil of Stegodon:

Stegodons had existed 11.6 million years ago. There have been unconfirmed records of their regional survival until 4,100 years ago. Their fossils have been found in Asian and African Strata dating from the late Miocene. At the time of Pleistocene, they had lived across large parts of Central Africa and Asia.

The discovered fossil has been moderately preserved third lower molar with nine well-developed ridges on its surfaces. The length of the molar has been nearly 24 centimetres and the enamel of the molar is very thick. The sandstone that is embedded in the fossil is medium grained, pepper, and salt in nature. This form of lithology is the characteristic of Middle Shivalik.

In the past, the fossils of stegodon had been discovered from other locations of Shivalik Groups such as Jammu Foothills, Kala Amb, Saketi in Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh. The existence of Stegodon has also been found in the foothills of Pakistan and Nepal.  

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