'1.1 million year-old stegodon tusk' found in Pakistan

2016-02-16 19:02
(iStock)

(iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Lahore - A team of Pakistani researchers claims to have unearthed a 1.1 million-year-old stegodon tusk in the central province of Punjab, potentially shedding new light on the mammal's evolutionary journey.

Stegodonts, distant cousins of modern elephants, are thought to have been present on earth from around 11 million years ago until the late Pleistocene period, which lasted until the end of the last Ice Age around 11 700 years ago.

The tusk measures about 2.44m in length and is around 20.3cm in diameter, making it the the largest ever discovered in the country, according to the team.

It was found by researchers from the zoology department of the University of Punjab during an expedition in the Padri village of Jhelum district, said Khurram Shahzad, a spokesperson for the university.

Professor Muhammad Akhtar, who led the research trip, told AFP: "This discovery adds to our knowledge about the evolution of the stegodon, particularly in this region.

"It also sheds light on what the environment was like at the time of the animal's life."

Dr Gerrit Van Den Bergh, a paleontologist at the University of Wollongong in Australia who has done extensive research on the ancient mammals including in Pakistan, said: "If you have a complete tusk, that's quite special - they are quite rare."

He cautioned however that further verification, including of the dating, would be required.

Akhtar said the fossil belonged to the late Pleistocene period and its age was determined using a uranium-lead radioactive dating technique.

Stegodonts were known for their long, nearly straight tusks and low-crowned teeth with peaked ridges.

This indicated they were browsers or mixed feeders in a forested environment, in contrast to the high-crowned plated molars of mammoths and elephants which allowed them to graze.

They were strong swimmers and are thought to have originated in Africa but to have quickly spread to Asia, where most remains have been found.

"Around 1.2 million years ago they were still thriving," said Van Den Bergh. "They are mostly an Asian species, but remains have been found further afield. Recently a molar fragment was discovered in Greece."

He added that the species' extinction coincided with the emergence of modern humans, though it was difficult to say with certainty that men hunted stegodonts.

Read more on:    pakistan  |  palaeontology

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.