Ahmedabad, Jan 06: Geologists in Gujarat are thrilled after a massive fossilised tree of Jurassic Age was recently discovered at Dholavira -- an ancient metropolitan city of the Harrapan civilisation which is now an archaeological site in the Rann of Kutch.
"It is an amazing find. The fossil-tree is at least 176
million years old and appears to be of the Jurassic Age. We
have not seen anything like it ever before", Dr K C Tewari,
principle investigator at the geology department of the MS
University, Vadodara, who studied samples of the fossil, told.
Explaining the importance of the age-old fossil-tree, the
geologist said "these plant remains are similar to the plant
fossils associated with the Lathi formation (Jurassic) of
Rajasthan's Jaisalmer area where the Geological Survey of
India (GSI) has established a plant fossils park at Akal".
Regarding his preliminary findings, Tiwari said that "the
samples are fibrous in nature and it belongs to some plant
fossil (petrified wood) associated with the Khadir formation
comprising sandstone-shale-limestone sequences belonging to
the Jurassic age (Aalenian-Bathonian) 187-176 million years
"These fossil logs are at least 8-10 meters long
and about one and half metres in diameter. This discovery
should be considered important and a rare historical treasure
of Gujarat. They need protection and preservation", he said.
The fossil-tree was discovered by forest department
officials at Raparn range in Kutch district who then informed
geologists and archaeologists.
"It is important to know how this tree survived so much
of weather change over the centuries and became so solid in
state. Microscopic study will have to be conducted and we hope
to find out more of the ecology and climate of the region
then. The findings will be very crucial for scientists to
understand more about the region", the geologist said.
Though similar fossils have been found from an ancient
civilisation site in Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, the is the first
time that one such has been found in Gujarat and that too
such a magnificent specimen, the scientist said.
The valuable find, shaped like a tree but solid as rock,
is now being guarded by forest department officials at the
site and geologists would soon inspect it in person.
The fossil-tree was found at the Khadir island at
Dholavira, which is considered one of the most important trade
centres of ancient India linking Sindh (in Pakistan) and
archaeologists also finding vessles linked to Mesopotamia
(Egypt in ancient times).
Estimated to be older than the port city of Lothal,
Dholavira is spread over 100 hectares and is known for its
ingenious city planning.
Roughly built and occupied by the Harrapan civilisation
in 2500 B.C., the magnificent ruins of Dholavira was
discovered by archaeologists in 1967-68 and excavation work
began from 1990 onwards.