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The discovery of a 41,000-year-old ostrich nest by a team of archaeologists in Prakasam, Andhra Pradesh could provide key information about the extinction of megafauna in the Indian subcontinent.

  • Megafauna term is generally used to describe animals weighing more than 50 kg.
  • The term was first used by the English naturalist and explorer Alfred Russel Wallace in his 1876 book, The Geographical Distribution of Animals.
  • Megafauna may be classified based on their dietary type as megaherbivores (plant-eaters), megacarnivores (meat-eaters), and megaomnivores (who eat both plants and meat).
  • Ostriches are megaomnivores, with an adult ostrich weighing anywhere between 90 and 140 kg, with height between seven and nine feet.
  • The earliest documented evidence of the species in the subcontinent was presented by Richard Lydekker in 1884 in the Dhok Pathan deposits in Upper Siwalik (Sivalik) Hills in present-day Pakistan.
  • Archaeologist S A Sali in 1989 reported the discovery of ostrich eggshell beads and engraved pieces (dating back to roughly 50,000–40,000 years ago) in an Upper Palaeolithic open-air camping site at Patne, Maharashtra.
  • In 2017, researchers at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad assessed the ages of a batch of fossilised egg shells from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, and established the presence of ostriches 25,000 years ago.