Rare 9cr-year-old coral fossil found in Narmada valley
Indore: In a rare discovery, palaeontologists have stumbled upon a nine crore-year-old rare coral fossil similar to that of brain coral in Bagh beds of Narmada valley region. This suggests the presence of marine life and sea in Central India during evolution. Discovery of coral fossil is also likely to help experts get a peep into the environment of that era.
Paleontologist Vishal Verma, who recently discovered the fossil from Man River basin in Dhar district of the state, said it is one of the oldest evidences of sea incursion in Narmada valley. Verma has been working in Bagh beds for almost 20 years to gather evidences about marine life in the region. He has also been fighting to get a fossil park developed for preservation purposes.
According to research and the fossil discovery, it is being considered that sea and marine life existed in this part of the earth for around 30 lakh years.
"But we have little knowledge about lives and environment of that particular era," he said.
"This is a rare discovery from Narmada valley. Presence of such a coral has never been found and published in India. I have got the fossil confirmed from experts and it was not found in 700 documented varieties," Verma said.
Verma has been finding fossils of different marine life, including shark and oysters from the valley during his involvement in the field work for proposed national dinosaur fossil park in Dhar district.
Palaeontologists have confirmed coral presence in Mesozoic era - Age of reptiles. The era is subdivided into three major periods: the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous. The era began in the wake of the Permian-Triassic extinction event, the largest well-documented mass extinction in Earth's history. The era ended with the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, another mass extinction, which is known for having killed off non-avian dinosaurs, as well as other plant and animal species. The Mesozoic was a time of significant tectonic, climate and evolutionary activities. The era witnessed the gradual rifting of the supercontinent Pangaea into separate landmasses that would eventually move into their current positions.
A faculty member at department of geology, Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, West Bengal, Tapas Gangopadhya said Narmada valley is quite rich in fossils and coral presence suggests the area was under the sea. Corals were found in Mesozoic era. They were considered earliest species of life. Only a few corals have been reported in the country.