IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


3rd July, 2024 Environment


Source: Indian Express

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  • The 41,000-year-old ostrich nest discovery in Andhra Pradesh offers significant insights into the extinction of megafauna in India.


Key Points

  • Discovery of 41,000-year-old ostrich nest in Prakasam, Andhra Pradesh.
  • It is the world's oldest known ostrich nest with 9-10 feet wide and is originally capable of holding 9-11 eggs with the capacity for 30-40 eggs.
  • Megafauna
    • These are the animals generally weighing more than 50 kg. It was first used by Alfred Russel Wallace in 1876.
    • Megafauna can be classified into three categories such as mega-herbivores, mega-carnivores and mega-omnivores. Ostriches are mega-omnivores with the weight of 90-140 kg and standing 7-9 feet tall.
  • Historical Evidence:
    • Presence of ostriches in southern India 41,000 years ago. Earliest evidence by Richard Lydekker in 1884 in Upper Siwalik Hills (Pakistan).
  • Significant Discoveries:
    • In 1989, S A Sali found ostrich eggshell beads in Patne, Maharashtra.
    • In 2017, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) researchers found fossilised eggshells in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat which date backs to 25,000 years.
  • Ostriches in India due to Gondwanaland's continental drift.
  • Extinction Research:
    • In 2020, a study by Yale University and Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History linked large animal extinction in India to human arrival around 30,000 years ago.
  • Co-evolution Hypothesis:
    • It suggests that megafauna extinction linked to coevolution with hominins, geographic isolation and various other abiotic factors.


  • Geographical distribution:
    • Ostriches are native to Africa.
    • However, they were found in Asia and the Arabian Peninsula but they are primarily restricted to Africa at present.
  • Habitat:
    • Ostriches are mainly live in savannas, arid and semi-arid regions and open woodlands as they prefer environments where they can run freely to escape predators.
  • Conservation Status:
    • The Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus): Least Concern
    • North African Ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus): Critically endangered


Indian Express


Q. Consider the following statements about megafauna:

1. Megafauna are generally defined as animals weighing more than 50 kg.

2.The term "megafauna" was first used by Charles Darwin in his book "On the Origin of Species."

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

A. 1 only

B. 2 only

C. Both 1 and 2

D. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: A