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India’s oldest art gallery overlooked for fossil in Bhimbetka caves?

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Bhopal, Feb 10: Eleven feet up on the wall of an area called Auditorium Cave at Bhimbetka Rock Shelter near Bhopal, a group of geologists on a cultural visit has spotted a pattern that looks like an imprint of Dickinsonia.

Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, a UNESCO World Heritage Site for Paleolithic and Mesolithic cave art, near Bhopal is located in the capital of the central state of Madhya Pradesh.

 India’s oldest art gallery overlooked for fossil in Bhimbetka caves?

Dickinsonia is a well-known fossil dating back 550 million years to the initial years of complex life on Earth.

The fossils are identical with Dickinsonia tenuis from the Ediacara Member of the Rawnsley Quartzite in South Australia. They also show deformation due to lateral impingement, arcuate pieces missing, and alignment. They are within the late Ediacaran, Maihar Sandstone of the Bhander Group, in red sandstones.

This new occurrence was first published in the February edition of Gondwana Research. The research article by Gregory J.Retallack, Neffra A.Matthews, Sharad Master, Ranjit G.Khangar and Merajuddin Khan, confirms assembly of Gondwana land by 550 Million years ago but not reconstructions adjusted for true polar wander.

Recent scientific consensus has shifted toward calling them prototypical animals that lived on the seafloor. But contraary to these findings, Dr. Retallack's work suggest that these organisms lived on land, not in the sea, and that they were lichens.

However, one way to examine the discovery according to Dr Emily Mitchell of Cambridge's Department of Earth Sciences is that if they get permission to scrape off and test a little material. But given where it was found, she said, it also could be a painting or petroglyph itself, a possibility rejected in Dr. Retallack's study.

It should be noted that the Bhimbetka rock shelters are an archaeological site 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.

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    Spanning across 10 km, there are close to 750 rock shelters and seven hills in the area. These caves have now been declared a UNESCO world heritage site, owing to their historical significance.

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