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In a remarkable discovery, 9 million-years-old fossil of extinct ape-like creature unearthed in Bilaspur, Himachal

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Fossils of pliopithecoid from Haritalyangar India

SHIMLA- Dr. Anek R Sankhyan, a former scientist with the Anthropological Survey of India and now head of the Paleo Research Society, have discovered 9 million-years-old fossil remains of Krishnapithecus, genus of primitive ape-like ancestors called pliopithecoid, from Haritalyanagar in Bilaspur district, Himachal Pradesh. The fossils are two lower molar teeth of an infant. The creature lived during Miocene period of human evolution and resembles to Siamang Gibbons found in the Himalaya and South-East Asia.

siamang gibbon

Siamang Gibbons

Earlier, Dr. Sankhyan had discovered a late survivor of a hominid called Sivapithecus in the same area in 1985.The new discovery suggests that Haritalayangar perhaps served as an asylum for hominids during the very late Miocene period.

This is the first time that Anthropologist found clinching evidence about the existence of a primitive ape Pliopithecoids in India. The researchers, in a research study titled “A highly derived pliopithecoid from the Late Miocene of Haritalyangar,India”, published in Journal of Current Science and the Human Evolution, established that the primitive creature lived in the forests of present day Shivalik Hills. The research study is co-authored by Dr. Jay Kelley of Institute of Human Origins and School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University and Terry Harrison of the Centre for the Study of Human Origin in the Department of Anthropology at New York University.

Krishnapithecus of the Pliopithecoid family is not much studied due to fewer evidences. Therefore, the current finding will provide more knowledge to those studying evolution of Krishnapithecus and its habitats on the globe.

According to the research,

Two lower molars from Haritalyangar that bear unmistakable pliopithecoid features and that are plausibly assignable to the same species as the type specimen of K. krishnaii. They convincingly demonstrate for the first time the presence of the Pliopithecoidea in South Asia. The new molars also reveal that K. krishnaii was perhaps the largest known pliopithecoid and that it possessed highly derived post-canine dental morphology.

 

Molar teeth fossils of Krishnapithecus in Bilaspur India

On Left (Different views of Lower molars of Krishnapithecus krishnaii from Haritalyangar) India) On Right (3D surface scans of the lower molars)

The research further explained,

Because of its highly derived nature, it is dif cult to determine its relationships within Pliopithecoidea, but a sister taxon relationship with either the Dionysopithecidae or Pliopithe-cinae is equally plausible; it is only distantly related to the Crouzeliinae. It is sufficiently distinct, how-ever, from all other pliopithecoids to warrant placement in a separate family.

This tooth is a germ of a left m2 (molar), with almost complete crown formation and no development of the roots. It’s identical as m2 is indicated by its relative crown breadth and proportions. The enamel surface exhibits minor etching on the buccal and distal faces, resulting in a pale gray patina. The dis-tolingual margin of the crown was broken away during preparation, and subsequently glued back in place, but a crack is left at the joint,

said the research.

It’s not the first time that evidences of existence of a Pliopithecoid genus have been unearthed in India. Researcher SRK Chopra and S Kaul, in 1970s, had for the first time discovered a third upper molar from Haritalyangar. But due to poor condition of the fossils, not much information could be derived.

In 2012, two additional small catarrhine teeth were recovered from the beds at Haritalyangar, near Barada village, Bilaspur District. Dr-Anekh-R-Sankhyan

Dr. Sankhyan, who lives in Ghumarwin in Haritalyangar, continues his research. Following his retirement from the Anthropological Survey of India, he founded an organisation called Palaeo Research Society in 2012. Dr. Sankhyan even set up a museum at his house where he keeps fossils and Stone Age implements discovered in that area.

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Ex-MLA’s Bambar Thakur’s son, 3 others arrested with 498 grams charas in Mandi

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Congress MLA Bambar's Song arrested with charas

Mandi: The notorious leader of Indian National Congress and former Member of Legislative Assembly from district Bilaspur, Bambar Thakur, is again in the news after his son was arrested with about half-a-kilogram of charas in Mandi district today morning.

As per the police, the four youths were carrying 498 grams of charas in a luxury car (HP 69 -2323) that the son of the Ex-MLA was driving. The police confirmed that the vehicle was registered in the name of Bambar Thakur. Two of the accused were minors.

The police confirmed that a team headed by Sunil Kumar, in charge of Sadar Thana, was conducting inspections of the vehicles at a barrier near Bhyuli on National Highway-21 when the car of the accused was spotted coming towards Mandi from Pandoh.

The police stopped the car and recovered the said amount of charas from the dashboard of the car after a checking. All four accused were arrested following this recovery. As per police,  Thakur’s son and one other accused claimed they were minors, which was later verified by the Superintendent of Police, Mandi, Gurudev Chand Sharma. 

Other two accused were identified as Abhishek of Bilaspur and Amar of Shimla district.

The police have filed a case against two adults under Section 20 of the NDPS Act at Sadar Police Station, Mandi. The minors would be booked under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. Further investigation is in progress, said the police.

Bambar Thakur and his son have remained in controversies for wrong reasons earlier too. Earlier, Bambar had been alleged of illegal mining and running other illegal trades even when he was a sitting MLA.

The allegations of drug-peddling against his son had also surfaced earlier. The people in a locality of Bilaspur had even staged a protest against the misuse of the local police by the MLA to shield offences of his son. 

The case has again brought the increasing indulgence of Himachal’s youth in drug/substance abuse to the limelight. 

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Video: College students thrash man in Shimla after he allegedly calls them Naxalites

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SFI classh at shimla

Shimla: On Monday, enraged over allegedly being labelled as Naxalites, some members of the Student Federation of India clashed with the man at the New Interstate Bus Terminal (ISBT) of Shimla. A video recorded by another man did rounds of the social media and caused huge embarrassment to the student organization.

The organization faced a widespread criticism after the video was circulated on social media. 

As per the report, at about 9:30 PM, some members of the SFI, who were students of a government college in Shimla, were collecting donations. One of the men reportedly denied donation, allegedly misbehaved and called them Naxalites in front of all passengers sitting inside a bus of the Himachal Pradesh Road Corporation (HRTC).

The enraged students asked the man to apologize. However, man, who identified himself as a BSF personnel, did not apologize, which led to a clash with the students.

An ugly, violent scene continued for several minutes and caused huge inconvenience to other passengers present inside the HRTC bus.

Watch Video of the clash and SFI’s clarification

Note: Himachal Watcher has excluded most of the violent part of the clip posted below:

The police reached the spot, but the man who was thrashed did not file an FIR or complaint. By that time, some other leaders of both ABVP and SFI had also arrived at the spot.

SFI said the man had accepted his fault in front of the police and had compromised afterwards.  

SFI alleged the video was circulated on social media alleging that the SFI members were trying to extort money from the man and thrashed him when he denied it. 

SFI held a press conference on Tuesday and labelled some serious allegation against ABVP. SFI said the students were deliberately provoked. SFI alleged the man who was recording the video was a member of ABVP. He was identified as Saffronist Manish Saklani.

The man can be heard repeating name of SFI as well going to other passengers asking them to identify the student organization.

SFI said it had also lodged an FIR against some members of the ABVP for spreading wrong information to defame the student organization. 

The police confirmed that the man who was thrashed filed no FIR, but after the video went viral on social media, it said action would be taken against the students. The police said no one would be allowed to extort money from passengers. 

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25% loan plus 5% interest subsidy for opening private hospital in rural Himachal

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148th State level review meeting of Bankers Committee

Shimla: About 2131 bank branches and 1879 bank mitras were catering to the needs of the people in far-flung areas of the State.

Each branch of the bank was providing banking services to average 3221 people, which was far better than the national average of 11000 people per branch of the bank, informed the Additional Chief Secretary, Finance Anil Kumar Khachi while presiding over the 148th State-level review meeting of Bankers Committee today.

The Cash Deposit Ratio in the State was about 44.82 percent, and the banks were asked to raise the cash deposit ratio to 60 percent as fixed by Reserve Bank of India.

As per government statistics, till March 2018, the banks provided 5625.68 crore loans to 4.18 lakh farmers under the Kisan Credit Card Scheme.

The General Manager, UCO Bank Vivek Kaul said the banking sector had achieved an annual growth of six percent and its deposit and advances were Rs. 1.06 lakh crore and Rs. 37481 crore respectively.

Over 10 lakh people had opened bank accounts in the State under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna’
In order to encourage private hospital facilities in rural areas, a new scheme ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna’ has been launched in the State, he said.

An investment subsidy of 25 percent would be provided on an investment of rupees one crore besides five percent interest subsidy for three years on loans taken from banks.

The banks are also expected to encourage this investment so that people of the remote area could get better health education nearer to their homes, he said.

The banks were urged to participate in ‘Jan Manch’ Programme of the State government so that people living in rural areas could be educated regarding various schemes being implemented by the State and Central Governments.
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Anil Kumar Khachi said that under ‘Gram Swaraj Abhiyan’ 93 villages of the State had been selected for making them financial inclusive. He said that in the second phase of Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, a target to achieve Chamba district as financial inclusive has been fixed.

A provision of subsidy has been made to start self-employment ventures by the youth between the age group of 18 to 35 years.

A provision of five percent interest subvention has been made on interest on the loans up to Rs. 40 lakh raised from the banks for the period of three years.

It was informed that the banks were urged to provide more loans to the farmers so that they could opt latest farming techniques to enhance their income.

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