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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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Himachal Scientist Conferred National Fellowship for Outstanding Work in Floriculture, Landscaping

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Dr YC Gupta, a senior scientist of the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni 1

Solan: Dr YC Gupta, a senior scientist of the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni has been conferred fellowship of the Indian Academy of Horticultural Sciences. The fellowship was conferred for Dr Gupta’s outstanding contributions to the field of floriculture and landscaping.

Dr Gupta is presently working as the Dean of College of Horticulture and Centre of Excellence for Horticulture, Research and Extension, Thunag, Distt Mandi. He was conferred with the fellowship during the Indian Horticulture Congress 2019 at NAAS Complex, New Delhi held recently.

Born in Mandi, Dr Gupta obtained his BSc and MSc in 1986 from Agra University. After completing his doctorate in horticulture (Floriculture and Landscaping) from IARI, New Delhi, Dr Gupta joined UHF as Assistant Floriculturist in 1988. He served as Professor and Head of Department of Floriculture and Landscape Architecture for 12 years after which in 2019 he became the founding dean of the fourth constituent college of the university at Thunag.

Dr Gupta During the Indian Horticulture Congress 2019 at NAAS Complex, New Delhi


Dr Gupta has been associated in the development of seven hybrids of Gladiolus, five hybrids in Marigold, four hybrids in Antirrhinum and 3 hybrids in Pansy besides a patent named ‘HIMFLORA- a computerized botanical database of wild ornamentals of Himachal Pradesh’. Two varieties, Solan Mangla of Gladiolus and Solan Shringar of Chrysanthemum were released in 2014 and Virbhadra Singh, a variety of carnation was released in 2016.

Besides being the National Chairman for DUS testing of Carnation and Lilium under PPVFRA, Dr Gupta is a life member of various professional societies. The American Biographical Institute, USA conferred on him an honorary appointment in the year 2000. He is also the Fellow of Society for Recent Development in Agriculture and Indian Society of Ornamental Horticulture (ISOH) and the recipient of ISOH’s Lotus Puraskar 2011. He also won the Dr Manmohan Attawar Gold Medal Award in floriculture for the year 2016 by the Horticultural Society of India.

In his career spanning over nearly 31 years in teaching, research and extension including administration, Dr Gupta has guided several MSc and PhD students and has numerous research papers, books, book chapters, popular articles, and technical bulletins to his credit.

He has handled more than 17 externally funded and 8 state-funded research projects. UHF University Vice-Chancellor Dr Parvinder Kaushal and other scientists and staff and students congratulated Dr Gupta on his achievement.   

 

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ITBP Head Constable from Himachal Among 6 Shot Dead by Own Colleague

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Himachal ITBP head constable mahinder singh

Shimla-Six personnel reportedly died and two were injured when one of them opened fire with his service rifle following some dispute at an ITBT camp in insurgency-hit Narayanpur district of Bastar, Chhattisgarh on November 4, 2019.  This information was released by the Director General of Police,Chhattisgarh, DM Awasthi.

One of the personnel, Head Constable Mahender Singh, hailed from Barthi area of Bilaspur district. He is survived by his parents, wife, and two sons.

As per the DGP, there was some dispute which led to this fratricidal incident in which one of the personnel, Constable Masudul Rahman (West Bengal), opened fire on his colleagues at the Kedarnar camp of ITBP’s 45th battalion.  

“The ITBP personal who shot his five colleagues committed suicide with his own rifle and died on the spot,”

TOI quoted DGP.

As per another report, while the reason for the dispute is still not known, there is a speculation that the constable accused of opening fire was upset as he wasn’t granted leaves. However, the exact cause was yet to be ascertained.

Other four deceased included Head Constable Daljit Singh (Punjab), Constable Surjit Sarkar (West Bengal), Biswaroop Mahtoo (West Bengal) and Brijeesh (Kerala).

 Injured were identified as constable SB Ullass (Kerala) and constable Sitaram Doon (Rajasthan).

A probe has been ordered, ITBP officials confirmed.  

 

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Monkey Sterilization in Himachal Working, Farmers Feeling Relieved, Claims Forest Minister

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Monkey Sterlization in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla-Forest, Transport and Youth Sports Minister, Govind Singh Thakur, claims that sterilization of monkeys has proved to be a successful solution in Himachal Pradesh and providing relief to the farmers. So far, one lakh 57 thousand monkeys have been sterilized in eight monkey sterilization centres of forest department in the state, the Minister claimed.

While the people did not report any relief from monkey menace, the Minister claimed the situation has improved as per the government.

He said the incentive to capture monkeys has been increased to Rs. 1000. Local people would be given training by the forest department to capture monkeys. It was discussed that workshops should be organized in vulnerable panchayats to provide training to the locals.

The Minister was presiding over one day workshop on ‘Human-Wildlife Conflict’ at Shimla organized by the Wild life wing of Himachal Pradesh Forest Department on November 3, 2019.

Forest Minister said that 548 panchayats of the state are vulnerable to monkey menace.

Principal Chief Conservator Dr Savita said 1100 monkey hotspots have been identified in the state. She informed that 91 Tehsils/sub-Tehsils and Municipal Corporation Shimla area have been declared vermin for a period of one year.

Emphasis was laid on the plantation of fruit-bearing saplings in forests so that monkeys don’t enter human settlements in search of food.

However, no discussion was done on keeping human settlements clean and discourage littering of food waste which attracts monkeys, especially in cities.

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