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Fossils of ‘Dickinsonia’ found at Bhimbetka

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    History & Culture
  • Published
    15th Feb, 2021


  • Researchers have discovered three fossils of the earliest known living animal, the 550-million-year-old ‘Dickinsonia’, on the roof of the Bhimbetka Rock Shelters.

Features of the fossil finding

  • It has white leaf-like patches with a central vertebra (central midrib) and connecting veins.
  • The discovery can be seen right at the beginning of the ‘Auditorium Cave’, the first of such caves at Bhimbetka, a UNESCO heritage site.

Bhimbetka Caves

  • The Bhimbetka rock shelters are an archaeological site in central India.
  • It 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 the Stone Age.
  • It is located in the Raisen District in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh about 45 kilometers (28 mi) south-east of Bhopal.
  • It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Different periods of panting

  • Period I – (Upper Paleolithic): These are linear representations, in green and dark red, of huge figures of animals such as bison, tigers, and rhinoceroses.
  • Period II – (Mesolithic): In addition to animals there are human figures and hunting scenes, giving a clear picture of the weapons they used: barbed spears, pointed sticks, bows, and arrows.
  • Period III – (Chalcolithic): These drawings reveal that during this period the cave dwellers of this area were in contact with the agricultural communities of the Malwa plains, exchanging goods with them.
  • Periods IV & V – (Early historic): The figures of this group have a schematic and decorative style and are painted mainly in red, white, and yellow.
    • The association is of riders, the depiction of religious symbols, tunic-like dresses, and the existence of scripts of different periods.
    • The religious beliefs are represented by figures of yakshas, tree gods, and magical sky chariots.
    • Periods VI & VII – (Medieval): These paintings are geometric linear and more schematic.
    • The colors used by the cave dwellers were prepared by combining black manganese oxides, red hematite, and charcoal.

Auditorium cave

  • The Auditorium cave is one of the significant features of the site.
  • It is surrounded by quartzite towers.
  • The Auditorium rock is the largest shelter at Bhimbetka.