Archaeological Discovery: 41,000-Year-Old Ostrich Nest Unearthed in Prakasam, Andhra Pradesh

Archaeological Discovery: 41,000-Year-Old Ostrich Nest Unearthed in Prakasam, Andhra Pradesh

A team of archaeologists recently discovered a 41,000-year-old ostrich nest in Prakasam, Andhra Pradesh, shedding light on the extinction of megafauna in the Indian subcontinent.

Key Insights from the Discovery

  • The nest, unearthed by archaeologists including Devara Anil Kumar, measures 9-10 feet in width and could originally hold 30-40 eggs, though it contained 9-11 eggs.
  • This finding provides crucial insights into the ancient presence of ostriches in southern India, dating back 41,000 years.

Understanding Megafauna

Megafauna, animals typically weighing over 50 kg, encompass various dietary types:

  • Megaherbivores: Plant-eaters
  • Megacarnivores: Meat-eaters
  • Megaomnivores: Consuming both plants and meat

Ostriches, classified as megaomnivores, weigh between 90 and 140 kg and stand 7-9 feet tall.

Historical Context and Previous Discoveries

  • The earliest evidence of ostriches in the subcontinent dates to roughly 50,000–40,000 years ago, found at the Patne site in Maharashtra.
  • Further evidence from 2017 suggests ostrich presence in India 25,000 years ago, attributed to continental drift from Gondwanaland.

Extinction of Megafauna in India

  • Research suggests megafauna extinction in India began around 30,000 years ago, coinciding with human arrival.
  • The “co-evolution hypothesis” proposes that interactions with hominins and geographic factors accelerated extinction.

Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs):

  1. What is the approximate age of the ostrich nest discovered in Prakasam, Andhra Pradesh?
    • A) 50,000 years
    • B) 41,000 years
    • C) 30,000 years
    • D) 25,000 years
    • Answer: B) 41,000 years
  2. Which type of megafauna includes animals that consume both plants and meat?
    • A) Megaherbivores
    • B) Megacarnivores
    • C) Megaomnivores
    • D) Megafauna do not consume both plants and meat.
    • Answer: C) Megaomnivores
  3. When did the extinction of megafauna in India likely begin?
    • A) 50,000 years ago
    • B) 41,000 years ago
    • C) 30,000 years ago
    • D) 25,000 years ago
    • Answer: C) 30,000 years ago