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Tags Current Affairs

Asia’s oldest bamboo in India

Date: 06 October 2019 Tags: Biodiversity

Issue

A new fossil record has shown that India is the birthplace of Asian bamboo, and they were formed about 25 million years ago in the north-eastern part of the country.

 

Background

Bamboo fossils are not very common in India as they are known only from the Siwalik sediments.

This finding further strengthens the theory that bamboo came to Asia from India and not from Europe.

 

Details

  • An international team of researchers found two fossil impressions of bamboo culms (stems) and after further study noted them to be new species.

  • They were named Bambusiculmus tirapensis and B. makumensis - as they were found in the Tirap mine of Makum Coalfield in Assam.

  • These belonged to the late Oligocene period of about 25 million years ago. They also found two impressions of bamboo leaves belonging to new species Bambusium deomarense, and B. arunachalense, named after the Doimara region of Arunachal Pradesh where it was discovered.

  • These leaves were found in the late Miocene to Pliocene sediments, indicating that they were between 11 and three million years old.

Importance

  • Yunnan Province in China now has the highest diversity of bamboo, but the oldest fossil in that region is less than 20 million years old, clearly indicating that Asian bamboo was born in India and then migrated there.

  • The scientists will be able to study what made bamboo develop such a wide environmental niche so that it can survive in such wide range of temperature and geographic condition.

  • Bamboo braved these climatic and geographical changes making it the fittest in the survival race.

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