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Ancient Ostrich Nest Unearthed in Andhra Pradesh

  • Context (IE): Archaeologists have unearthed a 41,000-year-old ostrich nest in Prakasam, Andhra Pradesh. This discovery is considered the world’s oldest known ostrich nest.

Megafauna

  • Megafauna refers to animals weighing over 50 kg, a term first coined by Alfred Russel Wallace in 1876.
  • These large animals are classified as megaherbivores, mega carnivores, or mega omnivores based on their diets. Ostriches, weighing 90-140 kg and 7-9 feet tall, fall into the mega omnivore category.

Co-evolution hypothesis

  • A study by Yale and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (2020) suggests large animal extinction in India began around 30,000 years ago, coinciding with human arrival.
  • This research supports the “co-evolution hypothesis,” which proposes that fauna’s resilience to extinction may have resulted from coevolution with hominins (humans and their relatives).
  • It proposes that geographic isolation and environmental changes may have accelerated extinction.

Previous Evidence of Ostriches in India

  • 1884: Richard Lydekker found evidence of the extinct Asian ostrich (Struthio asiaticus) in the Dhok Pathan deposits of the Upper Siwalik Hills (now in Pakistan).
  • 1989: Archaeologist S. A. Sali discovered ostrich eggshell beads and engravings (50,000-40,000 years old) at an Upper Palaeolithic site in Patne, Maharashtra.
  • 2017: CCMB researchers in Hyderabad identified ostrich presence in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat 25,000 years ago through fossilised eggshells linked to continental drift from Gondwanaland.

About Ostrich

  • The ostrich is a flightless bird and the world’s largest avian species.
  • The ostrich is the tallest and heaviest bird in the world.
  • They inhabit the savannas and desert regions of Africa.
  • It derives most of its hydration from its plant-based diet.
  • Ostriches are exceptional runners and can achieve sprint speeds of up to 43 miles per hour.
  • Ostriches live in small herds, typically of fewer than a dozen birds. These groups are led by alpha males who mate primarily with the dominant hen.
  • IUCN Status: Least Concern.

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Credits: Wikipedia

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