Saturday, March 04, 2006

Ohio Paleo Helps Find 45 Million Yr Old Croc In India

From The Times of India:

In a rare discovery last week, a team from the earth sciences department of IIT, Roorkee in Uttaranchal, along with an American researcher, found a 45 million-year-old fossil of a crocodile in Julrai village in Lakhpat taluka of Kutch district.

Croc pic from HERE.

According to palaeontologist Sunil Bajpai, associate professor in the department, the crocodile skull that the team found is about 70 cm long, suggesting that the body must have been about eight to 10 metre long.

In the past couple of years, the team has also discovered an assemblage of fossil land mammals from a coal (lignite) mine at Vastan near Surat. The collection includes distant ancestors of modern horses, humans, deer and cattle, bats, insectivores and many more groups.

PhD scholar Debasis Das — part of the team comprising Hans Thewissen, professor of Anatomy at North-eastern Ohio University's College of Medicine — found the crocodile fossil which has been gifted to Kutch Sanskriti Darshan museum.

Bajpai said "We have also found molar teeth for the first time in India that suggest the presence of animals related to kangaroos in India approximately 52 million years ago".