Invertebrate Palaeozoology: India

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This is an extract from
Protozoa to Mammalia
State of the Art.
Zoological Survey of India, 1991.
By Professor Mohammad Shamim Jairajpuri
Director, Zoological Survey of India
and his team of devoted scientists.
The said book is an enlarged, updated version of
The State of Art Report: Zoology
Edited by Dr. T. N. Ananthakrishnan,
Director, Zoological Survey of India in 1980.

Note: This article is likely to have several spelling mistakes that occurred during scanning. If these errors are reported as messages to the Facebook page, your help will be gratefully acknowledged.


Invertebrate Palaeozoology


Comparatively most of the fossils of invertebrate species are not only chronologically older than the vertebrates, but also more abundant in the primitive palaeozoic rocks. Species (mostly extinct) of Foraminifera, Coelenterates (corals), Polychaetes (Annelida), Brachiopods, Echinoderms, Trilobites (Crustacea), Gastropods and Pelecypods (Mollusca), occur in primitive Cambrian and post Cambrian rocks, which in cases are older than 450 million years, but strangely in more or less codified manner. Lamarck was the pioneer in the study of invertebrate fossils. Almost 95% of the invertebrate fossil species occur in the marine depositions.

Trilobites an extinct group of Crustacea were abundant in Cambrian and thrived upto Carboniferous, but couldn't survive after the Permian: The Brachiopods (Lamp Shells) evolved in the Palaeozoic, became less numerous in Mesozoic, but were able to persist till date presenting about 250 species. The Ammonites which appeared in Late Silurian, became extinct by Cretaceous. The insects appeared during Carboniferous.

Many of the invertebrate species are considered as Index fossils as they represent particular geological horizon and epoch (or era). However, in some cases particular species could manage to thrive unchanged, defying the drastic ecological changes like Kin~ crabs, scorpions, etc.

In the context to the study of fossil invertebrates in India, mention should be made to those pioneers like Forbes (1945-46), Stoliczka (1871), Waagen (1879), Oldham, (1886), Kossamat (1897), Krafft (1909), etc.

Historical Resume

Cockerell (1917-1920) was the first to study the insect fossils present in the Burmite, or the Burmese amber, reported to have drifted from some higher reaches in an unknown area of Burma and collected by Swinhoe. Subsequently, Sahni and Trivedi (1943, 1944) reported microfossil arthropods from the Salaine Series of the Salt Ranges (now in Pakistan) collected from Salt marl, dolomites, and oil shales. Mani (1945) published brief descriptions of these fossils and added additional comments later (Mani 1946). Mani (1947) published a note oil a fossil weevil from the Intertrappean beds near ~agpur. 'While the Salt range fossils were believed from Eocene those of Nagpur definitely dates back to Cretaceous. George (1952) published detailed descriptions of these Salt Range fossil arthropods as well as those collected by Mani, Moghe and Gee from N agpur and Bombay. Lakshminarayana (1963) redeScribed Chironomus primilivus Mani, based on a second rare specimen and briefly discussed the evolution of male genitalia in the genus C hironomus.

In the Palaeozoology Division, Lakshminarayana and Talukdar (together with Jana, Roy, Saha, Paul, and Dutta for certain orders) have nearly completed an exhaustive bibliography on fossil insects of the World (perhaps the only one such attempt since the publication of Scudder in the last Century (1883).

Estimation of Taxa

Considering the insect faunal diversity, and endemism of our fauna, normally we should expect fairly a large number of insect orders, families, genera and species in the Indian region among the fossils also. But unfortunately, the country being mainly a land of agriculture from time immemorial, and lack of interest on insect fossil collection on the part of palaeontologists, Reproduced from Stale of Art Report: Zoology, 1980, partly updated by M. Ghosh, Zoological Survey of India, Calcutta. zoologists including entomologists, we have a poor record of our fossil insect wealth. Areas covered

(a) Family wise: Most of the fossils reported by Sahni, Trivedi, Mani and George are based on fragments, and therefore, family allotment or even naming of the genera and species was not attempted by the authors. However, these fossils belong to Collembola (Poduridae), Thysanura (Lepismatidae), Orthoptera (Acrididae). Dermaptera, Psocoptera, Heteroptera (Cimicidae 1), Homoptera (Aphididae, or Aleyrrodidae), Lepidoptera (Microlepidoptera, and Sphingidae), Hymenoptera (Ichneumonoidea, Chalcidoidea (Encyridae and Chalcididae). Diptera (Nemotocera fragments, Phycetophilidae, Chironomidae, Psychodidae, and ltionididae) and Coleoptera (Carabidae, Dytiscidae, and Dcrmestidae).

Cockerell (1917-1920) reported Thysanura (Lepismatidae), Dermaptera, (Labiduridae), Embioptera (Embiidae), Isoptera (Termitidae), Psocoptera (Psocidae), Heteroptera (Enicocephalidae), Homoptera (Fulgoridae, Delphacidae Aelyrodidae), Lepidoptera (Micropterygidae), Trichoptera (Odontoceridae 1), Hymenoptera. (Evaniidae, Bethylidae, and Trigonalidae), Diptera (Mycetophilidae, Chironomidae, Itionididae, Psychodidae, Empididae), and Coleoptera (Buprestidae, Elateridae, Pedilidae, Rhipiphoriddae, Dermestidae and Ipidae) from the Burmese Amber.

(b) Survey wise: Maharashtra, Salt Range (pakistan) and Burma. G.S.I. has obtaiped some Blattid specimens from Kota Maleri and probably Kashmir. Recently Dutta (1977) described a fossil blattid from Daltonganj coalfield, Bihar. Present work ofthe survey in relation to work done in other Institutes in India

At present George is working on Arthropod fossil at Christ Church College, Kanpur. Besides him, only Lakshminarayaua in Z.S.I., is paying attention to insect fossil problem. The proposed insect fossil bibliography will help not only to those interested in insect fossil work, but also those systematists engaged on modern insects, and perhaps pave the way for others to take more active interest on fossils. Lakshminarayana also had the opportunity of examining Baltic Amber fossils and Solenhofen fossils from Bavaria Poland, German Democratic Republic and British Museum (Natural History) London.

(a) Survey wise: A beginning has been made to pay special attention while making other fossil collections in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Likewise, while surveying in different states, one can look for those fossils especially in freshwater deposits, limestone deposits, and oil shales. Since fossil finding is Inorc a chance discovery, even those non-Palaeozoology teams should pay attention to fossiliferous beds and their collection during their surveys, without which much headway cannot be made.

(b) Family wise : As Slated in item 2, there is a great scope for encountering several orders and families considering the modern faunal ~iversitj', whose ancestors must have definitely occurred in the remote past.

Forbes (1856) was the first to discuss fossil annelida from India. StoHczka (1873) was the next worker to study the fossils of this group froln the Tril.hinopoly Cretaceous. This author (1858) also erroneously associated three spccies of annelids in his Inonograph on fossil Mollusca, which are now transferred to their proper position by Lakshminarayana and Saha (in press). The latter two authors revised the fossil annelids from Trichionopoly Cretaceous based on the collections made by Lakshlninarayana and the Inaterial present in the Geological Survey of India, studied earlier by Invertebrate Palaeozoology Stoliczka. These studies resulted in the proper alignment of the known speices as well as in the desCription of two new species. No. offamilies. genera and species estimated in the country 1 family, 2 genera, 12 species in India and 1 family, 1 genus and 6 species in Trichinology Cretaceous beds.

Areas covered

(A) Family wise : Serpulidae. (B) Survey wise: Trichinopoly Cretaceous beds (other areas in Sind and Salt Range (pakistan); Kutch (India).

Present work 0/the survey in relation to work done in other Institutes Since 1873 no one paid attention to this group in India and froro Trichinopoly Cretaceous. The group is studied in Z.S.1. onl¥ in the recent times.

Areas to be explored

(A) Survey wise: NIL (B) Family wise: NIL

Other workers abroad are as follows :-Bignot, G.: "Howell,. B. F.: Regenhardt, H.: Ware, S.: Wrigley, A.

Studies on fossil Pelecypoda

(a) Bihliography on/ossil Areaeea, Peetinacea &Cardiaceafrom Trichinopoly creataceous:


Species belonging to the genera Area, Peetan and Cardium have been described by pioneer authorities from India like Forbes (1846), Stoliczka (1871), Foote (1879), Kossmat (1897) and Nostling (1897). During nineteenth century, Hayden (1913-14), Bion (1925), Cossmann &Pissanro (1927), Cox (1931), Pascoe (1950); and Hertlein &Cox (1969) discussed the relative statigraphic zonation or evolutionary importance of these fossil groups. The Trichionopoly Cretaceous has a representative fauna of these genera. While working out these fossils, it was felt desirable to compile a bibliography of work on these fossil genera from the world since no consolidated work is so far available. No. o/families. genera and species estimated in the cour,try 3 families, 49 genera and 281 species. Areas covered (A) Family wise: Arcidae, Pectinidae and Cardiidae. (B) Survey wise: Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Siwalik ranges, Kunlaon, Assam, Garo and Khasi Hills, Sikkim, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa states. (Besides several reports from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal &Burma are also available).

Present work ofthe survey in relation /0 work done in other Institutions in India (A) Survey wise : Z.S.I. conducted surveys from Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and the Geological Survey of India explored oilier regions mainly. Animal Resources ofIndia (B) Fami/y wise: The 3 aforesai4 families. 5. Areas to be explored (A) Survey wise: Rest of the areas other than mentioned in 4(A). (B) Family wise : All the 3 families. C. S. Roy published a note on Ptarotrigonia (Scabroligonia) scabra (Lamarck) (Mollusca: Bivalvia: Trigoriiidae) from Trichinopoly, Tamil Nadu, a new record from this area. (c) Studies onfossil Pinna (Mollusca: PeJecypoda) from Trichinopolly cretaceous 1.IJistorical : Forbes (1846) described the frrst fossil Pinna from India (pondicherry). Stoliczka (1871) described three more species from the Trichinopoly Cretaceous. Warth (1895) and Pascoe (1959) merely listed the species given by Stoliczka (vide supra). Lakshminarayana, Subba Rao, and Saha (1976) studied the fresh material collected by the first author along with material studied by Stoliczka available in the Geological Survey of India. The~e studies resulted in the redescription of the known species from India along with a key to their identification, as well as invalidating P. latisulcata Stol. as a nomen nudum and also a junior homonym of P. latiJulcata Woodw. The genus has not received much attention in the fossil state. 1. No. ofthefami/ies, genera and species estimated in the country: 1 family, 1 genus, 7 species. 2. Area covered

(A) Family wise : Pinnidae. (B) Survey wise: Trichinopoly Cretaceous (pondicherry &Tamil Nadu) (also Bwma). 4. Present work ofthe Survey in relation to work done in other Institutions in India (A) Survey wise: After the preliminary reports of Forbes and Stoliczka, no other party in G.S.!. has so far collected these fossils. Z.S.I. collected all the known fossil species from Tamil Nadu. (B) Family wise: One. 5. Area wise: One famil)'. (d) Studies on Spondylus species/rom Trichinopoly CretaceolJs 1. Historical: The genus Spondylus is well represented in fossil rocks and often utilized in stratigraphic zonation. Forbes (1845-46) was again the first author to describe the species from India. Several papers by D'Archiac &Haime (1853-54), Stoliczka (1871), Noetling (1897, 1910), Kossmat (1897), Hayden (1907, 1913-14), Douville (1916), Bion (1924-25) and Cossman and Pissarro (1927) have appeared dealing with the Spondylus species. Hartlein and Cox (1969) re'cently revised the genus.

Species from Trichionopoly Cretaceous beds were described by Forbes, Stoliczka, and Kossmat (vide supra). The material collected by Lakshminarayana were studied along with the material examined by Stoliczka and Kossmat available in the Geological Survey of India, by Lakshminarayana &Roy in this division. Both the species described by Forbes, were considered as conspecific by subsequent workers, but strangely they used the specific name of the second species in preference to the rust one, for no particular reason, and therefore, erroneous under International Rules 0/ Nomenclature. Therefore, Lakshminarayana and Roy (1978) corrected this erroneous practice giving priority to the rust named species of Forbes (op. cit.). A new subspecies was described along with redescriptions and key to all the known species of this region. A list of all the world species is provided in this paper inview of its strategraphic importance. The present day active workers are : Cox, L. R., Hertlein, L. G. and Zavarei, A. Invertebrate Palaeozoology 1.No. offamilies, genera and species estimated in the country: 1 family, 1 genus, 11 species. 2.Areas covered

(A) Family wise: Spondylida. (8) Survey wise: Trichinopoly Cretaceous (pondicherry & Tamil Nadu) [Baluchistan and Sind (pakistan), Tibet]. 4. Present work ofthe survey in relation to work done in other Institutions in India (A) Survey wise: After the preliminary report of Forbes, Stoliczka, and Kossmat, no other survey was conducted for these fossils. Z.S.!' has surveyed and obtained all the species from Tamil Nadu and encountered a new subspecies also. (B) Areas to be explored (A) Survey wise : Pondicherry. (8) Family wise: One family. (4) Studies on Rhyncholiles from Trichinopoly Cretaceous

1.Historical: Rhyncholites have been first reported by Till (1910) from India. Sahni and Jain (1962) added one more species, and Sastry, Mamgain, and Rao (1965) reported two more species including a new one. Lakshminarayana collected the species described earlier by Sastry et al., and also the already well known species, R. guinguecarinatus Pictet &Campiche besides another species new to science. These collections along with the collections present in the Geological Swvey-of India were studied by Lakshminarayana and Saha (1979). The outcome of the studies was that R. guinguecarinatus Pictet &Campiche (sensu Sastry et al.) is in fact composed of two species and the second one has also been described as a species new to science (Lakshminarayana &Saha) (in press). Lakshminarayana also took advantage of his visit to Poland in studying the collections of Gasiorowski and discussing with the possible development of Rhyncholites in a new angle. It is hoped that after examining the mandibles of few living cephalopods the new hypothesis can be published jointly. 2.No. offamilies, genera and species estimated in the country : 1 family (uncertain), genus (possibly one more), 5 species.

Areas covered

(A) Family wise: Uncertain. (8) Survey wise : Trichinopoly Cretaceous (Tamil Nadu). 4. Present work of the survey in relation to work done in other InstitJ-ttions in India (A) Survey wise : Department of Geology, Punjab University, Chandigarh and Geological Survey of India described three species, Z.S.I. explored the sarne area, obtained the two species, in addition to another new species, and also described another new species from G.S.I. collections from Tamil Nadu. (8) F amity wise : One. 5. Areas to be explored (A) Survey wise: More surveys can be conducted in Tamil Nadu. (8) Family wise : One.

Selected References

Forbes, E. 1945-46. Report on the Fossil Invertebrata from southern India collected by Mr. Kaye and Cunliffe. Trans. geol. Soc. Land (2) 7. Krafft, A. &Diener, C. 1909. Lower Triassic Cephalopoda from Spiti, MalIa-Johar and Byans

India. Geol. Survey .Menz. Palaeont.lndica Sere IS, V 6, No.1. p. 1-186. Oldham, R. D. 1886. On Invertebrate fossils from Rajasthan. Ree. Geol. Surv. India 19 (3); 151. Raymond, P. E. 1946. The genera of fossil conchoslraca -an Order of bivalved Crustacea.llarvard

Univ. Mus. Compo zool. Bull. 96 No.3, pp. 218-307. Spath, L. F. 1927. Jurassic Cephalopodi Fauna of Kutch. Palaeont. Indica, N. S., IX. Stoliczka, F. 1871. The Cretaceous Fauna of southern India. The Pelecypoda. Palaeont indica (6) 3: 1-537.

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