Fossils of ‘Dickinsonia’ found at Bhimbetka

Context

Key Findings

  • Dickinsonia fossils have shown that they could exceed four feet in length but the one found in Bhimbetka is 17 inches long.

  • Eleven feet above the ground, almost blending with the rock and easily mistaken by laymen for prehistoric rock art, they found imprints of the Dickinsonia.

  • It is believed to be one of the key links between the early, simple organisms and the explosion of life in the Cambrian Period, about 541 million years ago.

Back to Basics

About Dickinsonia

  • Dickinsonia is an extinct genus of basal animal that lived during the late Ediacaran period in what is now Australia, Russia and Ukraine. Dickinsonia
  • The individual Dickinsonia typically resembles a bilaterally symmetrical ribbed oval.
  • Its affinities are presently unknown; its mode of growth is consistent with a stem-group bilaterian affinity, though some have suggested that it belongs to the fungi or even an “extinct kingdom”.
  • The discovery of cholesterol molecules in fossils of Dickinsonia lends support to the idea that Dickinsonia was an animal.

About Bhimbetka:

  • An archaeological site in central India.
  • Located in the Raisen District in Madhya Pradesh.
  • Spans the prehistoric Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods, as well as the historic period.
  • Shows traces of earliest human life.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Prehistoric cave paintings and show themes such as animals, early evidence of dance and hunting.
  • Oldest-known rock art in India.

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