Ostriches inhabited India 25,000 years ago: study

OstrichesOstrich, the flightless bird native to Africa, inhabited India about 25,000 years ago, claims a study. Though it is native to Africa, several geologists and archaeologists have over the time found ostrich egg shell pieces in India, mostly in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

A DNA study of some partly fossilised ostrich egg shells was recently conducted at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) here. “We have successfully analysed the ostrich egg shells in our ‘ancient DNA’ facility and established that the egg shells (found in India) are genetically similar to the African ostrich,” CCMB’s senior principal scientist Kumarasamy Thangaraj said.

The study was conducted jointly by the scientists of CCMB, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee and others. The findings of the research have been published in the March 9, 2017 issue of science journal PLOS ONE.

The origin and evolution of ostrich is widely attributed to the continental drifting of Gondwanaland or Gondwana. Around 150 million years ago, Gondwana was a super-continent comprising South America, Arabia, Africa, Australia, Antarctica, India and Madagascar of the present times, an official release said.

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This bio-geographical dispersion eventually led to hopping of ostriches in Africa through Eurasia (the combined continental landmass of Europe and Asia), via land route around 20 million years ago. However, the continental drift theory for the existence of ostriches in India was not proven scientifically, the release said.

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