Dickinsonia Fossils – UPSC Prelims

Dickinsonia :
  • It is an extinct genus of basal animal.
  • They lived during the late Ediacaran period in what is now Australia, Russia, and Ukraine.
  • ¬†Ediacaran period is marked at 575 to 541 million years ago.
  • It was first described by Reg Sprigg, the original discoverer of the Ediacaran biota in Australia. He named it after Ben Dickinson, then Director of Mines for South Australia.
  • It (roughly) resembles a bilaterally symmetrical ribbed oval. Its affinities are presently unknown. As per some theories, it is the oldest known animal, visible without a microscope.
  • Fossils:
    • The fossils are found on the roof of Auditorium Cave at Bhimbetka Rock Shelters. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Madhya Pradesh.
    • The fossil can be identified from the white leaf-like patches with a central vertebra (central midrib) and connecting veins.
    • These are the only Dickinsonia fossils available in the country. They are similar to those seen in South Australia.
    • The Dickinsonia fossils found in other parts of the world exceeded 4 feet in length. However, the Bhimbetka fossil is only 17 inches long.
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