Ostriches once roamed the Indian peninsula

After nearly decade-long research, Dr VT Ingole, a professor from Amravati district of Maharashtra, has discovered that Ostriches existed in Indian sub-continent, nearly 15,000 to 25,000 years ago - particularly in Vidarbha region. DH photo
Highlights: 
Dating found fossilized shells to be around 25,000 years old
DNA analysis found to match up to 92 % with African Ostriches 
Cave paintings/pictographs point towards Ostriches or similar large birds

Ostriches or similar large birds once had roamed in parts of central Indian landscape. The large species of flightless bird, Ostrich, are now native to Africa. 

After nearly decade-long research,  Dr VT Ingole,  a professor from Amravati district of Maharashtra,  has discovered that Ostriches existed in Indian sub-continent,  nearly 15,000 to 25,000 years ago, particularly in Vidarbha region.


Cave painting of a Ostrich or a similar large bird.

During the research,  Dr Ingole and his team had found a large conglomeration of cave shelters having upper palaeolithic to pre-historic paintings,  engravings and sculptures in the Gavilgarh range of Satpuda-Tapti valley,  now called Ambadevi Rock Shelters. 

The site that was discovered in January 2007 is located along the Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh border.

"This information will benefit anthropologists,  scientists and the public at large...we have studied extensively and sustained the findings," Dr Ingole told DH.
 
He said that while studying the caves,  he came across the paintings of Ostriches.  Dr Ingole said fossilized eggshells of Ostriches were found near Nagpur and Jalgaon in Maharashtra and Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh.
 
Giving the update, he said: "Dating found the shell pieces to be around 25,000 years old and DNA matched up to 92 per cent of African Ostrich. The palaeolithic pictograph of Ostrich would certainly substantiate the early existence in the Indian peninsula."
Around 100 million years ago, the Gondwanaland supercontinent split and scattered. Indian continent, Africa, Madagascar, Australia and South America formed.
 
Around that time flightless birds like Rheas in South America, Emus in Australia-Antarctica,  Ostriches and Elephant birds existed in Indo-Madagascar. 
 
"Total absence of flightless birds in India was not something that had shocked the scientific community,  till broken shells of eggs like that of Ostrich was found in Maharashtra,  Madhya Pradesh,  Gujarat and Rajasthan, " he said,  adding that this is for the first time DNA analysis proved that Ostriches or similar large birds existed in India. 
 
The research team besides Dr Ingole comprised of Padmakar Lad,  Pradip Hirurkar,  Dr Manohar Khode,  Shirishkumar Patil and Dnyaneshwar Damahe.

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Ostriches once roamed the Indian peninsula

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