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Big find: 1630 million-yr-old fossil

INDIA FINALLY has evidence of multicellular life. Geo-scientists have discovered multicellular megascopic fossils on the Indian soil from the Palaeoproterozoic era. The fossil dates back to 1630 million years from now.

india Updated: Sep 17, 2006 01:29 IST

Discovery evidence of multicellular life in India

INDIA FINALLY has evidence of multicellular life. Geo-scientists have discovered multicellular megascopic fossils on the Indian soil from the Palaeoproterozoic era. The fossil dates back to 1630 million years from now.

This exceptional evidence of megascopic eukaryote (multicellular) fossils, an indication of existence of life through sexual reproduction, comes from Chopan in eastern Uttar Pradesh. Located near river Sone in Mirzapur, the area falls in the Vindhayan Range of mountains.

The finding is first of its kind in India and third oldest evidence of megascopic multicellularity in the world after Grypania Spirals in USA (1870 million years) and Changcheng Metaphytes of China (1700 million years).

As the next evidence of eukaryotes after China comes at 1200 million years of earth’s life, there was a big gap from 1700 to 1200 million years and in India there were no specific traces of life all through these years. The discovery makes India another authority in the field of geo-science.

“Till now the basis of research by any Indian scientist were microscopic fossils (prokaryotes) that are not treated as concrete evidence of life. Rather, they have been controversial for their formation without sexual reproduction. The evolution would give a new dimension to the history of fossil records and related research,” said discoverer Dr Vibhuti Rai, a palaeobiologist and senior faculty at the Lucknow University.

A eukaryote is an organism with complex cells. In it the genetic material is organised into a membrane-bound nucleus or nuclei. Eukaryotes or eukaryotes comprise animals, plants, and fungi—which are mostly multicellular.

In contrast, prokaryotes are organisms, such as bacteria, that lack nuclei and other complex cell structures.

Other major animal traces of life like fish, mammals and reptiles have been found at several places on the earth after 1200 million years but with the new finding India can now boast of life from the deep time. The findings, which will make an impact on the study of ecology and anthropology, were recently presented and approved by experts at the International Palaentological Congress held at China and also at the national seminar on Precambrian Life in West Bengal.