In a rare discovery, teeth of new species of hybodont shark of Jurassic age have been reported for the first time from Jaisalmer by a team of officers comprising Krishna Kumar, Pragya Pandey, Triparna Ghosh, and Debasish Bhattacharya from the Geological Survey of India (GSI), Western Region, Jaipur. This finding has been published in Historical Biology, a Journal of Palaeontology of International repute, in its August 2021, 4th issue. Prof. Dr. Sunil Bajpai, Head of the Department, Department of Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, who is a co-author of this publication, played a significant role in the identification and documentation of this important discovery.
According to Shri Krishna Kumar, Senior Geologist, Palaeontology division, Western Region, hybodont sharks have been reported for the first time from the Jurassic rocks (approximately, between 160 and 168 million years old) of the Jaisalmer region of Rajasthan. Hybodonts, an extinct group of sharks, was a dominant group of fishes in both marine and fluvial environments during the Triassic and early Jurassic times. However, hybodont sharks started to decline in marine environments from the Middle Jurassic onwards until they formed a relatively minor component of open-marine shark assemblages. Hybodonts finally became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous time 65 million years ago.
Significantly, the newly discovered crushing teeth from Jaisalmer represents a new species named by the research team as Strophodusjaisalmerensis. The genus Strophodus has been identified for the first time from the Indian subcontinent and is only the third such record from Asia, the other two being from Japan and Thailand. The new species has recently been included in the Shark references.com, an international platform operating in association with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Species Survival Commission (SSC), and Germany.
This discovery marks an important milestone in the study of Jurassic vertebrate fossils in the Jaisalmer region of Rajasthan, and it opens a new window for further research in the domain of vertebrate fossils.
The Geological Survey of India (GSI) was set up in 1851 primarily to find coal deposits for the Railways. Over the years, GSI has not only grown into a repository of geo-science information required in various fields in the country but has also attained the status of a geo-scientific organisation of international repute. Its main functions relate to creating and updating national geoscientific information and mineral resource assessment. These objectives are achieved through ground surveys, air-borne and marine surveys, mineral prospecting and investigations, multi-disciplinary geoscientific, geo-technical, geo-environmental and natural hazards studies, glaciology, seismic tectonic study, and carrying out fundamental research.
GSI’s core competence in survey and mapping is continuously enhanced through accretion, management, co-ordination and utilization of spatial databases (including those acquired through remote sensing). GSI uses the latest computer-based technologies for the dissemination of geoscientific information and spatial data, through cooperation and collaboration with other stakeholders in the Geo-informatics sector.
Headquartered in Kolkata, GSI an attached office to the Ministry of mines has regional offices in Lucknow, Jaipur, Nagpur, Hyderabad and Shillong. GSI also has unit offices in almost all states of the country.