Six and half crore years old fossils found in Asifabad forests

Hyderabad: A new fossil site has been added to the already fossil-rich Telangana’s fossil wealth. Researchers found gastropod fossils that lived around 6,50,00,000 years ago in the Ginnedhari forest range of Asifabad district. A team led by M A Srinivasan, General Secretary of PRIHA and Forest Range Officer, and PRIHA member Thodishetty Pranay conducted a field survey in the area to recognize and collect the fossils.

These snail-like fossils are identified as the Physa Tirpolensis by eminent paleontologist and retired Deputy Director-General of the Geological Survey of India (GSI), Chakilam Venugopal Rao. Similar gastropod fossils were discovered in Terpole village of Sangareddy district three decades ago by a geologist of GSI K Ayyasamy, hence the gastropod belonging to Genus Physa got its name Physa tirpolensis. Gastropods generally coil in a clockwise direction with the aperture opened always on the right side. But what makes Physa special is they coil anti- clock-wise and the aperture opens on the left.

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It is assumed that a lake that existed around 6,50,00,000 years ago in this region was overlaid by the lava, and thus these snails along with many other life forms embedded in the mud, and in the course of time got silicified transforming them into fossils. PRIHAH team also identified many other specimens of wood fossils here. There is a possibility of finding microfossils of algae and other plant and animal life. In the past also many fossils were found in the region between Maharashtra and west of Hyderabad which form Deccan traps in geological terms.

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“Finding of a pre-historic limestone cave in the same region and now the fossils, the potential, and importance for research in Asifabad is once again reiterated,” said M A Srinivasan. These findings could happen with the encouragement and support of IFS officers, the DFO S Shantaram, and FDO Dinesh”, says Pranay.

In the past, Dr. P Yadagiri of GSI and archaeologist Thakur Rajaram Singh found many fossils and pre-historic tools made of fossils in Asifabad, Mancheryal, and Adilabad regions of north Telangana enriching the fields of geology and pre-history. PRIHA urges the government to establish a fossil park in this region to preserve these fossils and facilitate further research on the Telangana region.

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