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  • Be N By IAS, Delhi
  • 15, Feb 2021
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For: GS-1 : History


  • 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, about 40 km from Bhopal.


  • Identification: One can identify the fossils from the white leaf-like patches with a central vertebra (central midrib) and connecting veins.
  • Size of Fossil: While one fossil is 17 inches long, the other two are much smaller.
  • Fossil Available at: The new discoveries can be seen right at the beginning of the ‘Auditorium Cave’, the first of such caves at Bhimbetka, a UNESCO heritage site, located about 3.5 metres above the ground.
  • First and Only in India: Geological Survey of India’s in-charge told that they were the only such fossils available in the country, and were similar to those seen in south Australia.
  • Proof of Gondwanaland: “This is further proof of the similar paleoenvironments and confirms assembly of Gondwanaland by the 550 Ma (mega annum), but not reconstructions adjusted for true polar wander,”


  • Dickinsonia is an extinct genus of basal animal that lived during the late Ediacaran period in what is now Australia, Russia and Ukraine.
  • Dickinsonia fossils are known only in the form of imprints and casts in sandstone beds.
  • They are nearly bilaterally symmetric, segmented, round or oval in outline, slightly expanded to one end (i.e. egg-shaped outline).
  • The first species and specimens of this fossil organism was first discovered in South Australia.


It is a series of natural rock shelters in the foothills of the Vindhya Range in Madhya Pradesh.

  • It exhibits the earliest traces of human life in India and evidence of Stone Age starting at the site in Acheulian times.
  • Dr V. S. Wakankar discovered these caves in 1958.
  • The complex consists of some 700 shelters and is one of the largest repositories of prehistoric art in India.
  • The shelters were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003.
  • The complex is surrounded by the Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary.


  • Founded: In 1851 primarily to find coal deposits for the Railways.
  • It is one of the premier organisations of earth science survey and research in the world.
  • Function: Creation and updation of national geo-scientific information and mineral resource assessment.
  • Ministry: GSI is an attached office to the Ministry of Mines.
  • HQ: Kolkata
  • Six regional offices: Lucknow, Jaipur, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Shillong and Kolkata.
  • Every state has a state unit.

SOURCE: The Hindu


Q. Recently Researchers in India have discovered three fossils of the earliest known living animal ‘Dickinsonia’. In this context, consider the following sentences.

  1. It is the only such fossils available in the country.
  2. It has been found in Bhimbetka Rock Shelters of India.

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

  • (a) 1 only
  • (b) 2 only
  • (c) Both 1 and 2
  • (d) Neither 1 nor 2