Kumram Bheem Asifabad: Public Research Institute for History, Archaeology and Heritage (PRIHAH), a Hyderabad-based independent research organisation, said on Friday that they had discovered a site of gastropod fossils of snails dating back to 6.5 crore years or cretaceous period in Ginnedhari Forest Range in Tiryani mandal.
General secretary of the organisation MA Srinivasan, in a statement, said eminent paleontologist and retired deputy director general of Geological Survey of India (GSI) Chakilam Venugopal Rao confirmed the existence of snails after examining the fossils collected by the PRIHAH team from a cliff locally known as Goyena during a field survey conducted in the second week of July. The snail-like fossils were identified as Physa Tirpolensis by Rao, he added.
“It is assumed that a lake which existed around 6,50,00,000 years ago in this region was over-laid by lava, and thus these snails along with many other life forms got embedded in the mud, and in course of time got silicified, transforming them into fossils. The finding of the 6.50 crore-year-old fossil site indicates the potential and importance for researches in Asifabad,” Srinivasan said.
Srinivasan stated that a similar gastropod fossil was discovered by a geologist of GSI K Ayyasamy in Terpole village of Sangareddy district three decades ago. Hence, the gastropod belonging to Genus Physa got its name as Physa Tirpolensis. Gastropods generally coil in clockwise direction with the aperture always open on the right side. But what makes Physa special is that they coil anti-clockwise and the aperture opens on the left, he explained.
The team of PRIHAH also identified many other specimens of wood fossils at the same site. There is a possibility of finding micro fossils of algae and other plant and animal life. In the past too, many fossils were found in the region between Maharashtra and west of Hyderabad which forms the Deccan Traps in geological terms. The team members included Ginnedhari Forest Range Officer Thodishetty Pranay.
The team thanked District Forest Officer S Shantaram and Asifabad Forest Divisional Officer Dinesh for extending support and encouragement to PRIHAH to carry out the survey. The organisation recently discovered a lime stone cave locally known as Arjun Loddi, believed to have been formed between 1,25,000 and 11,000 years ago, in Tiryani mandal.
Dr P Yadagiri of GSI and archaeologist Thakur Rajaram Singh, in the past, had found many fossils and prehistoric tools made of fossils in Asifabad, Mancherial and Adilabad regions of north Telangana which is endowed with rich fossil wealth. PRIHA urged the government to establish a fossil park in this region to preserve these fossils and facilitate further research in Telangana region.