Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

Dinosaur Footprints found in Thar desert


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Dinosaur species mentioned

Mains level : Not Much

In a major discovery, footprints of three species of dinosaurs have been found in the Thar desert in Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer district.

Details of the footprints

  • The footprints, made in the sediment or silt of the seashore, later become permanently stone-like.
  • They belong to three species of dinosaurs — Eubrontes cf. giganteus, Eubrontes glenrosensis and Grallator tenuis.
  • While the giganteus and glenrosensis species have 35 cm footprints, the footprint of the third species was found to be 5.5 cm.
  • The dinosaur species are considered to be of the theropod type, with the distinguishing features of hollow bones and feet with three digits.
  • All three species, belonging to the early Jurassic period, were carnivorous.
  • Eubrontes could have been 12 to 15 metres long and weighed between 500 kg and 700 kg, while the height of the Grallator is estimated to have been two metres, as much as a human, with a length of up to three metres.

Key findings

  • The discovery of dinosaur footprints prove the presence of the giant reptiles in the western part of the State, which formed the seashore to the Tethys Ocean during the Mesozoic era.
  • Careful geological observations enabled the scientists to interpret ancient environments in which the rocks of the footprints, which were once soft sediments, were deposited.
  • Geochemical analyses and calculation of weathering indices showed that the hinterland climate was seasonal to semi-arid during the deposition of the footprints.
  • Fieldwork in the Kutch and Jaisalmer basins has suggested that after the main transgression during the early Jurassic period, the sea level changed several times.
  • Spatial and temporal distribution of sediments and traces of fossils and post-depositional structures provided an indication to this phenomenon.


  • These trace fossils are significant to ascertain how life started and evolved after the mass extinction of species, including dinosaurs, at the end of the cretaceous period around 65 million years ago.
  • This research also illustrates the evidence of a fluvial freshwater palaeo-environment and tropical palaeo-climate, indicating the presence of a tropical forest and a huge network of rivers.

No matter what, try this PYQ:

Q.The term “sixth mass extinction/sixth extinction” is often mentioned in the news in the context of the discussion of (CSP 2018):

(a) Widespread monoculture Practices agriculture and large-scale commercial farming with indiscriminate use of chemicals in many parts of the world that may result in the loss of good native ecosystems.

(b) Fears of a possible collision of a meteorite with the Earth in the near future in the manner it happened 65million years ago that caused the mass extinction of many species including those of dinosaurs.

(c) Large scale cultivation of genetically modified crops in many parts of the world and promoting their cultivation in other Parts of the world which may cause the disappearance of good native crop plants and the loss of food biodiversity.

(d) Mankind’s over-exploitation/misuse of natural resources, fragmentation/loss, natural habitats, destruction of ecosystems, pollution, and global climate change.


Post your answers here.
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