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GEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF INDIA CENTRAL REGION NAGPUR MINUTES FROM PRESS CONFERENCE 12 MARCH 2010, HOTEL QUALITY INN PARLE INTERNATIONAL, MUMBAI. A press conference was held in Mumbai on 12 March 2010 to present results of recent Geological Survey of India (GSI) and Prof. Jeffrey A. Wilson of University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology (UMMP) collaboration under MoU for Study of Late Cretaceous snake fossil from Gujarat. The finding are of global significance as the specimen prepared turned out to be a unique specimen in the world with 3.5 m macrostomatan snake predating upon dinosaur hatchling. The findings were published in PLoS Biology, USA, On line journal with impact factor of 14. It received an unparallel international media coverage including Science, National Geographic, Discovery, Scientific America, Times, BBC and CNBC. Below is a summary of the meeting agenda, results, and prospectus. Other than the GSI delegates and media people, the meeting was also attended by the fellow scientists from IIT, Powai, St. Xavier College, ONGC and other amateur palaeontologists and students. The original specimen prepared at UMMP showing unique fossil of snake-sauropod hatchling-eggs association in the nest was displayed on the occasion along with other exhibits including eggs of sauropods and theropods and plant bearing dung mass of sauropods. Meeting agenda · opening remarks by Director General of GSI, Dr. Dr. N. K. Dutta; Expressing his joy over the crucial findings under the collaborative programme and congratulating the team, the Director General emphasized the need for more active collaboration both at international and national levels for improving the understanding on the subject matter in view of the emerging expertise and techniques. He expressed that we should have plans for creating state-of-art laboratory facility with international credibility. He said that creating environment where outstanding fundamental geoscience can be pursued should be our concern. More interaction with scientists, academic staff and students from sister earth science organisations, laboratories, institutes and sciences is necessary and is the endeavour of GSI to share the existing facilities and available expertise. It is important for GSI to ensure better co-ordination in this respect. He also emphasized the role of GSI for co-ordination with


the concerned authorities for establishing Geological Museums and Science Centers in different states for the benefit of students and researchers. He congratulated and thanked Prof. Wilson for his contributions to the studies of the Gondwanan and Cretaceous dinosaurs in India including the Rajasaurus. · introductory remarks by Director of Palaeontology, GSI (CR) Dhananjay Mohabey; Gave a brief history of dinosaurs finds in India since the first report of dinosaur bone in 1828 and the contributions of GSI to the ongoing global research on dinosaurs. He said that the discovery of dinosaur skeletal remains, eggs and nests in Gujarat in 1981 by GSI has given an impetus to dinosaur research and since then efforts of GSI proved to be another golden age of dinosaur research in India. The findings under the collaborative programme involving GSI and Prof. Jeffrey Wilson of UMMP, providing unique specimen of snake predating upon dinosaur hatching is a moment of pride for GSI and Indian palaeontologists. He emphasized that for achieving excellence in the science it essentially requires a degree of scientific liberty, autonomy and flexibility. He also said that managing fossil/geological sites in India has been challenging. It is the scientific responsibility of the GSI to protect and conserve such sites of international significance in co-ordination with state government authorities. There is necessity to make legislation and enact laws to provide better teeth to GSI, similar on the lines of Archeological Survey of India, for taking stringent measures against the offenders inflicting damage to the sites and for theft of fossils that is a national treasure. Dr. Mohabey categorically mentioned that presently there is no advance vertebrate preparation facility available anywhere in India. It is posing a lot of problems and now GSI is making all efforts to establish this facility that can be shared with the other institutes involved in vertebrate research. Dr. Mohabey made a specially made mention of the contributions of Prof. Jeffrey Wilson to the study of Indian dinosaurs that are so crucial in the context Gondawnan palaeogeography and evolution of life and endemism.. He said that Prof. Wilson who has remained deeply involved in his studies in India over the last one decade and has been instrumental in revising the systematic of dinosaurs from Indian subcontinent based on the development in dinosaur taxonomy and phylogeny. Prof. Wilson has given (2003) a new late Cretaceous dinosaur Rajasaurus · narmadensis- an abelisaurid dinosaur based on his study of the fossils excavated by GSI in 1983-1985. Presentation of results by Mohabey and UMMP Professor Jeff Wilson; A Power Point presentation on the problems and challenges involved in preparing the specimen, the techniques deployed, the taxonomy and phylogeny of the fossil snake was made. They highlighted that the new snake, which was named Sanajeh indicus or "ancient-gaped one from India" because of its lizard-like gape, adds critical information that helps resolve the early diversification of snakes. Modern large-mouthed snakes are able to eat large prey because they have mobile skulls and wide gapes. Sanajeh bears only some of the traits of modern large-mouthed snakes and provides insight into how they evolved. The also discussed about the palaeoecology and taphonomy of the fossil association that resulted in freezing 2

such rare moment of 3.5 m snake predating upon dinosaur hatchling. Prof. Wilson during his presentation offered co-operation in developing Vertebrate Preparation Facility in GSI India and also imparting state-of-the ­art training in preparation techniques including preparation of scientific casts of the specimens. He said that such facility and training will benefit the young researchers and students in India. Mention was also made about the find of snake fossils from Lameta sediments of Pisdura by GSI that were also studied in course of the collaboration. The Pisdura madtsoid snake is interpreted to be nearly 9.00 m long and presently under study. lively question and answer session with Mohabey and Wilson; Questions pertaining to preparation of fossil, interpretation of fossils, its age, mass extinction at KTB, role of Deccan Volcanism vs Extraterresrial Impact emerged from the learned audience. These were answered by Dr. Mohabey and Prof. Wilson and several other related issues as raised by the audience were addressed. presentation of cast of Titanosaurus indicus; the first dinosaur fossil (caudal vertebrae) collected in 1828 by Col. Sleeman from Lameta of Jabalpur and housed in British Museum London. The original of the specimen is lost. The cast prepared by Prof. Wilson was presented to DG, GSI. This is a very important specimen for the Indian collection. presentation of life-sized sculpture depicting the moment before Sanajeh-sauropod fossil was frozen (unfortunately, sculpture was held at customs and did not appear at conference; it is being shipped directly to Nagpur), However, the description of the sculptor was presented to the audience through power point presentation vis-à-vis the original fossil specimen exhibited in the conference. This generated a lot of interest and curiosity and evoked volleys of questions and answers. Vote of thanks by Shri K.K.K. Nair, Deputy Director General, Central Region: proposing the vote of thanks DDG, C.R., described the findings under the collaborative programme as an example of cuttingedge research and success of the project as envisaged in the MoU. Shri Nair mentioned that the pursuit of science should not be impeded by current administrative and technical procedures and such international collaborations should be encouraged for improvising upon our present understanding of the science and achieving excellence therein. Shri Nair specifically mentioned that the Matley's collection of dinosaur fossils from Jabalpur, which is presently pursued by Central Region in collaboration with Curatorial Division, Kolkata, also need to be prepared as was done for the snake specimen. The study specially the preparation of the bones can be on the similar lines under the collaborative programme that needs to be pursued without delay. Shri Nair thanked Hon. Secretary, MoM, Smt. Shanta Sheela Nair, for appreciating the findings under the collaborative programme and permitting to organise the press announcement. He thanked Prof. Jeffrey Wilson for his active interest in organsing and co-sponsoring the announcement. He also thanked Prof. Wilson for presentation of the cast first Indian Titanosaurus indicus and sculptor of snake-sauropod hatchling association (to be delivered) to GSI. Shri Nair thanked the media people, Director General Shri N.K. Dutta, other






distinguished delegates from GSI and the all participants for their active participation and lively interaction during the meeting. Results: · · Sanajeh indicus is an internationally-recognized fossil of signal importance for understanding early snake evolution and predation pressure on sauropod hatchlings; Sanajeh indicus, together with Rajasaurus narmadensis, demonstrates the potential power that fossils from the Lameta Fm. They are crucial for impacting paleobiogeographical and evolutionary hypotheses; Results were published in the high-impact (Impact Factor ca. 14), open-access journal PLoS Biology and are freely available to anyone with internet capability; International visibility of results has drawn attention to vertebrate paleontology in India and to GSI & UMMP; Fossils required development in a state-of-art preparation facility at the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology. Fossils were promptly returned to India, along with research-quality casts of the specimens; Research program included both field work as necessitated and museum collections work; International collaborations between UMMP and GSI on Rajasaurus narmadensis and Sanajeh indicus demonstrate that high-impact results can be generated within a reasonable time-frame that are mutually beneficial to parties involved.

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Prospectus: future work · India is uniquely positioned to provide crucial input to palaeogeogarphic studies of Gondwana land and evolution and GSI being a most premier most organization has an important role and scientific responsibility to provide and share knowledge and develop information in the subject matter with coordination of all concerned earth science organisations and institutes both at national and international levels. Continued research on existing collections: Sanajeh and Rajasaurus were both collected in the 1980s but left unstudied until recently owing to lack of preparation facility and expert preparator. Other collections of Indian fossils that are even older hold promise for illuminating paleobiogeographical and evolutionary hypotheses. One such collection is the unpublished set of dinosaur remains collected by C. A. Matley re-discovered recently in the Indian Museum. Presently the study of the collection is pursued by Central Region. These bones are unprepared and require development before they can be studied. Presently there is no existing preparation facility available in GSI or anywhere in India. GSI has plans to develop such facility but may take some time. A recently submitted MOU proposal to study this collection has been stalled but should be revived. The collection can be prepared and described and the specimens can become Type specimens in Curatorial Div. Kolkata. 4



Continued field research on Indian Cretaceous snakes: field reconnaissance in Gujarat (Dholi Dungri) and Maharashtra (Pisdura) demonstrate the strong potential of Lameta Formation sediments for producing exciting remains of ancient snakes. Additional field work in Dholi Dungri and Pisdura could be undertaken under umbrella of the previous MOU; Continue field research on Indian Cretaceous dinosaurs: field studies should go forward to continue pushing for new discoveries of articulated/associated dinosaur. Localities in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra show great potential and should be exploited. Motivation to develop a preparation facility and train preparators: Currently there is no preparation facility or expert preparators in GSI or anywhere else in India. This has required that all fossils developed under both MOUs needed to be shipped to UMMP or any other lab for that matter for preparation. Not only is this costly, it does not foster growth of paleontology locally in India. For these reasons, we propose to develop infrastructure and to train personnel for a state-of-the-art preparation facility. Once space is in place, equipment and supplies can be obtained for a modest price, and training can be imported from outside. Given support from Government of India, a preparation facility could be established quite quickly. The training can also benefit the young Indian researchers and students from other institutes and universities as well.



Contact Person: Dr.D.M.Mohabey Director Co-ordination and Technical Division-I & Palaeontology Division (Add. Charge), Geological Survey of India, Central Region, Seminary Hills, Nagpur-440006, India Email [email protected] Ph. 0712-2511673. Fax: 0712-2511671


Fw: Coverage of dinosaur-snake story (preliminary report)

Coverage of dinosaur-snake story (preliminary report)

Saturday, March 13, 2010 3:13:51 AM "Jeffrey WILSON" <[email protected].edu>, "Dhananjay Mohabey" <[email protected]> Clips are still showing up, so this isn't a final report, but here's what I've been able to compile so far. Major placements are in red.

Release: Fossil snake from India fed on hatchling dinosaurs Researcher: Jeffrey Wilson Date: 2/26/10 Actualidad Noticias, 3/2/10 ­ Fossil of dinosaur-eating snake found -- Archaeology Daily News, 3/2/10 ­ New snake fossil from India fed on hatchling dinosaurs Associated Press, 3/2/10 ­ Fossils of snake eating dino eggs found in India --

-- BBC News, 3/2/10 ­ Dinosaur-eating snake discovered -- Canada East, 3/1/10 ­ Fossil, 67 million years old, shows snake snacked on baby dinosaurs: study --

CBC, 3/2/10 ­ Snake dined on baby dinos, fossils show -- Daily Mail (UK), 3/10/10 ­ Scientists unearth skeleton of prehistoric snake that preyed on baby dinosaurs - Daily News & Analysis, 3/2/10 ­ Snake from India fed on hatchling dinos 67 million years ago -- DeshGujarat, 3/2/10 ­ Snakes possibly fed on dinosaurs' eggs -- [WITH VIDEO] Discover Magazine, 80 Beats Blog, 3/2/10 ­ Frozen in Stone: An Ancient Snake Poised to Devour Dinosaur Eggs - e!Science News, 3/1/10 -- 'Anaconda' meets 'Jurassic Park': Study shows ancient snakes ate dinosaur babies - Endless Forms (Blog), 3/2/10 ­ Fossil Snake Snacks on Sauropods -- Fox News, 3/1/10 ­ When Dinosaur-Eating Snakes Slithered Freely --


eating-snakes-slitheredfreely/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%253A+foxnews%252Fscitech+%2528Text++SciTech%2529 FunFreeFast, 3/2/10 ­ Snake dined on baby dinos, fossils show -- Globo, 3/2/10 ­ Fóssil mostra momento em que cobra pré-histórica ataca ninho de dinossauro -,,MUL1512252-5603,00.html India Express, 3/2/10 ­ Gujarat was home to snake that ate dinos -- Indian Express, 3/3/10 ­ Fossil found in Gujarat shows snakes ate dinosaur eggs -- ioL, 3/4/10 ­ Snakes fed on baby dinosaurs io9, 3/2/10 ­ The Snake That Ate Dinosaurs -- Live Science, 3/1/10 ­ Giant Snake Ate Baby Dinosaurs -- Mongabay, 3/2/10 ­ Prehistoric snake gobbled-up dinosaur babies -- National Geographic Blog Wild, 3/1/10 ­ Snake Attacks Dinosaur, Entombed in Stone -­ study --

National Geographic News, 3/1/10 ­ Snake Caught Attacking Dinosaur ­ First Fossil



New Scientist, 3/2/10 ­ Dino-eating snake killed in action -- Newsline 365, undated ­ Rare snake fossils found -- Not Exactly Rocket Science (Blog), 3/1/10 ­ Sanajeh, the snake that ate baby dinosaurs --

NPR, 3/2/10 ­ In Fossil find, 'Anaconda' Meets 'Jurassic Park' -- Paleoblog (Blogspot), 3/2/10 ­ Fossil Snake from India Fed on Hatchling Dinosaurs -- Paleontology News (Blogspot), 3/2/10 ­ 'Anaconda' meets 'Jurassic Park': Study shows ancient snakes ate dinosaur babies - PhysOrg, 3/2/10 ­ 'Anaconda' meets 'Jurassic Park': Study shows [WITH VIDEO] ancient snakes ate dinosaur babies --

PopFi, 3/2/10 ­ Last Meal: Snake Preserved Eating Dinosaur Eggs -- RedOrbit, 3/2/10 ­ Fossil Snake Fed On Hatchling Dinosaurs --


Science Codex, 3/2/10 ­ 'Anaconda' meets 'Jurassic Park': Fossil snake from India fed on hatchling dinosaurs - Science Daily, 3/2/10 ­ 'Anaconda' meets 'Jurassic Park': Fossil snake from India fed on hatchling dinosaurs - Scientific American, 3/1/10 ­ Down the Hatch(ling): Nest-Raiding Snake Gulped Newborn Titanosaurs --

Scientific Blogging, 3/2/10 ­ Ancient Snakes Ate Seattle Post Intelligencer, 3/2/10 ­ Fossils of snake eating dino








--, 3/2/10 ­ Prehistoric Snake Fed on




Softpedia, 3/2/10 ­ Giant Ancient Snake Ate Baby Dinosaurs ­ Sydney Morning Herald, 3/3/10 ­ Snake preyed on baby dinosaurs -- The Guardian, 3/2/10 ­ Fossil of dinosaur-eating snake found -- The Money Times, 3/2/10 ­ Snakes possibly fed on dinosaurs' eggs ­ The Press Association (UK), 3/3/10 ­ Dinosaurs 'were afraid of study --



Times of India, 3/2/10 ­ Ancient Guj snake fed on baby dinosaurs? -- Times Online (UK), 3/3/10 ­ Fossil of dinosaur-eating snake is 67 million years old --

TopNews (India), 3/3/10 ­ Scientists confirm: baby dinosaurs were food for ancient




TweetLeaks, 3/1/10 ­ 67 Million-Year-Old Snake Fossil Found Eating Baby Dinosaurs -- Updated News, 3/2/10 ­ Giant Snake Ate Baby Dinosaurs -- USA Today, 3/2/10 ­ Fossils of snake eating dino eggs found in India -- Winnipeg Free Press, 3/2/10 ­ Break out of your shell, just to be a snake's dinner --













-- +%28Top+Stories+2%29%29 Yahoo News, 3/1/10 ­ Fossil, 67 million years old, shows snake snacked on baby dinosaurs: study -

NDTV NEWS-14/03/2010 Contact Person: Dr.D.M.Mohabey Director Co-ordination and Technical Division-I & Palaeontology Division (Add. Charge), Geological Survey of India, Central Region, Seminary Hills, Nagpur-440006, India Email [email protected] Ph. 0712-2511673. Fax: 0712-2511671




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