Context: Fossils of a plant-eating dinosaur Tharosaurus indicus from the Middle Jurassic period, found in the Thar desert near the Jaisalmer Basin by the Geological Survey of India.
About Tharosaurus indicus
- The name “Tharosaurus indicus” reflects its origin, with “Thar” referring to the Thar Desert and “indicus” indicating its origin in India.
- It is a long-necked, plant-eating dinosaur species.
- It is characterised by vertebrae with deep, long depressions on the sides and under surface, and split neural spines (top-most parts of the backbone) resembling spikes.
- Members of the Dicraeosauridae family of sauropods to which Tharasaurus belongs were not nearly as large. This family was unique: its members were smaller and had shorter necks and tails compared to the other long-necked sauropods.
- The fossils of Tharosaurus indicus were found to be around 167 million years old, making them one of the oldest known dicraeosaurids and diplodocoids globally.
- The dicraeosaurid dinosaur had previously been found in the North and South Americas, Africa, and China. This is the first instance of such fossils being discovered in India.