#GS 01 Ancient History, #GS 03 Science and Technology
- Dickinsonia is Earth’s ‘oldest animal’, dating back 570 million years which typically resembles a bilaterally symmetrical ribbed oval.
- Dickinsonia is believed to be an animal due to the discovery of cholesterol molecules in fossils of Dickinsonia.
- It is an extinct genus of basal animal that lived during the late Ediacaran period in what is now Australia, Russia and Ukraine.
- The species was named after Ben Dickinson, then Director of Mines for South Australia by Reg Sprigg, the original discoverer of the Ediacaran biota in Australia.
- While its affinities are presently unknown; its mode of growth is consistent with a stem-group bilaterian affinity.
- However, some have suggested that it belongs to the fungi or even an “extinct kingdom”.
- Three fossils believed to have been of Dickinsonia was found on the roof of the Bhimbetka Rock Shelters.
- However, a closer look at the site revealed the apparent fossil to really be wax smeared on a rock by a beehive.
- The Bhimbetka rock shelters are an archaeological site located in Madhya Pradesh and spans the prehistoric Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods, as well as the historic period.
- It exhibits the earliest traces of human life in India which can be traced back to the Stone Age starting at the site in Acheulian times.
- The caves are located in the Raisen District in Madhya Pradesh about 45 kilometres (28 mi) south-east of Bhopal.
- It consists of seven hills and over 750 rock shelters distributed over 10 km (6.2 mi) and was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013.
- Some of the shelters are believed to have been inhabited more than 100,000 years ago.
- Some of the Bhimbetka rock shelters feature prehistoric cave paintings while the earliest ones are about 10,000 years old (c. 8,000 BCE), corresponds to the Indian Mesolithic period.
- These cave paintings show themes such as animals, early evidence of dance and hunting.
- The Bhimbetka rock shelters were discovered by V S Wakankar 64 years ago.