Evidence of 'lost' river that ran through Thar Desert 172,000 years ago found

Agencies
October 21, 2020

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Bikaner, Oct 21: Researchers have found the evidence of a "lost" river that ran through the central Thar Desert, near Bikaner, as early as 172 thousand years ago, and may have been a life-line to human populations enabling them to inhabit the region.

The findings, published in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews, represent the oldest directly dated phase of river activity at Nal Quarry in the central Thar Desert.

The study by researchers from The Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany, Anna University in Tamil Nadu, and IISER Kolkata indicates that Stone Age populations lived in a distinctly different Thar Desert landscape than we encounter today.

This evidence indicates a river flowed with phases of activity dating to approximately up to 172 thousand years ago, nearby to Bikaner, Rajasthan, which is over 200 kilometres away from the nearest modern river.

These findings predate evidence for activity in modern river courses across the Thar Desert as well as dried up course of the Ghaggar-Hakra River, the researchers said.

The presence of a river running through the central Thar Desert would have offered a life-line to Paleolithic populations, and potentially an important corridor for migrations, they said.

The researchers noted that the potential importance of 'lost' rivers for earlier inhabitants of the Thar Desert have been overlooked.

"The Thar Desert has a rich prehistory, and we've been uncovering a wide range of evidence showing how Stone Age populations not only survived but thrived in these semi-arid landscapes," said Jimbob Blinkhorn from The Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

"We know how important rivers can be to living in this region, but we have little detail on what river systems were like during key periods of prehistory," Blinkhorn said.

Studies of satellite imagery have shown a dense network of river channels crossing the Thar Desert, according to the researchers.

"These studies can indicate where rivers and streams have flowed in the past, but they can't tell us when," explained Professor Hema Achyuthan of Anna University.

"To demonstrate how old such channels are, we had to find evidence on the ground for river activity in the middle of the desert," Achyuthan said.

The team studied a deep deposit of river sands and gravels, which had been exposed by quarrying activity near the village of Nal.

The researchers were able to document different phases of river activity by studying the different deposits.

"We immediately saw evidence for a substantial and very active river system from the bottom of the fluvial deposits, which gradually decreased in power through time," Achyuthan said.

The researchers used a method called luminescence dating to understand when quartz grains in the river sands were buried.

The results indicated that the strongest river activity at Nal occurred at approximately 172 and 140 thousand years ago, at a time when the monsoon was much weaker than today in the region.

River activity continued at the site between 95 to 78 thousand years ago, after which only limited evidence for the presence of a river at the site, with evidence for a brief reactivation of the channel 26 thousand years ago, the study found.

The river was flowing at its strongest during a phase of weak monsoonal activity in the region, and may have been a life-line to human populations enabling them to inhabit the Thar Desert, the researchers said.

The timeframe over which this river was active also overlaps with significant changes in human behaviour in the region, which have been linked with the earliest expansions of Homo sapiens from Africa into India, they said.

"This river flowed at a critical timeframe for understanding human evolution in the Thar Desert, across South Asia and beyond," said Blinkhorn.

"This suggests a landscape in which the earliest members of our own species, Homo sapiens, first encountered the monsoons and crossed the Thar Desert may have been very different to the landscape we can see today," he added.

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News Network
November 17,2022

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The Israeli military is set to confiscate thousands of square meters of Palestinian-owned land in the southern West Bank to expand illegal settlements in violation of international law and UN Security Council resolutions which condemn the Tel Aviv regime’s land expropriation policies in the occupied territories.

Hasan Brijiyeh, a local anti-settlement and anti-apartheid activist, told the official Palestinian news agency Wafa that Israeli officials had issued a military order aimed at confiscation of 230 dunams (230,000 square meters) of private Palestinian land in al-Khader town and the villages of Nahalin and Artas, in order to expand the nearby illegal settlements of Daniel, Eliezer and Efrat.

Brijiyeh noted that the order will come into effect within 30 days from the date of the decision.

Last month, Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian activist who monitors Israeli settlement activities in the northern West Bank, said that Israeli officials were planning to grab some 616 dunams (616,000 square meters) of Palestinian-owned land in the villages of Qaryout and al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya, and as-Sawiya town to make room for the expansion of Eli settlement.

Emboldened by former US president Donald Trump’s all-out support, Israel has stepped up its illegal settlement construction activities in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which pronounced settlements in the West Bank and East al-Quds “a flagrant violation under international law.”

Much of the international community regards the Israeli settler units in the occupied lands as illegal.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent state with East al-Quds as its capital.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued illegal settlement expansion.

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News Network
November 23,2022

Mangaluru, Nov 23: A differently-abled woman’s dead body was found stuffed inside a gunny bag at Beeramangala in Sullia taluk of Dakshina Kannada district.

According to DK SP Rishikesh Sonawane, it is suspected that Imran Sheikh, working as a helper at a bar in Sullia and living in a rented house for the past few months, allegedly killed his wife and fled after stuffing the body in a plastic gunny bag.

Imran is said to be a native of West Bengal and was working at the bar owned by Santhosh K for the last eight months. He had left for his native place within 15 days of joining the work and later returned with his wife. He had stayed in a room in the bar with his wife for 15 days and later shifted to a rented house at Beeramangala.

The complainant Santhosh said that Imran had informed him that his wife was pregnant and there was no one to take care of her here in Sullia. Hence, he availed his salary on November 19 to leave for his native place along with his wife. 

On November 21, Keerthan Shetty, who was working as a waiter in the bar, was informed by Imran’s neighbour Rohith that they had heard a woman screaming in the house of Imran on the night of November 20. 

When asked, Imran had informed the neighbour that his wife fell in the toilet. Suspecting something fishy, Keerthan informed his owner Santhosh of the incident, who in turn tried to contact Imran but his phone remained switched off. 

Santhosh visited the rented house of Imran on Tuesday and noticed light in the room. When he peeped through the window, he noticed a phone on the table and light in the toilet. He also noticed a gunny bag near the toilet. On enquiring, Rohith had informed Santhosh that Imran had left with a bag on November 20 at 8.30 pm. However, his wife had not accompanied him. The Sullia police who rushed to the spot found the body of a woman stuffed inside the gunny bag.

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News Network
November 13,2022

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Mangaluru, Nov 13: The health department has warned schools to be cautious in the wake of increase in cases of conjunctivitis after the rainy season in the coastal district of Dakshina Kannada. 

Schools have been advised to take precautions to prevent the spread of pink-eye disease among children. Cases of conjunctivitis, inflammation, or infection of the outer membrane of the eyeball and the inner eyelid are being reported at many places across the district. The health department suggested that children stay at home till they are cured.

DHO Dr Kishore Kumar M said that the department has been receiving information about the spread of cases in many schools in the district. 

“Parents have also requested that precautions need to be taken in schools. So I have spoken to the deputy director of public instructions to take note of the issue and direct schools to take necessary precautions. We have suggested that schools may grant holidays till children are cured when they are infected with conjunctivitis. In fact, the district started reporting cases ever since the rain stopped,” Dr Kumar explained.

It is difficult to prevent the spread of the infection when one of the family members or a student suffers from it. It spreads most often through direct contact with the eye by hands or objects like towels that are contaminated with the virus or bacteria. So there is a need to avoid direct contact with objects that infected persons have used. Since it also spreads through houseflies, those infected should always wear sunglasses, he said.

He cautioned against the use of coconut oil or any other oils as eye drops for conjunctivitis. All government hospitals have sufficient stock of eye drops required to treat patients with conjunctivitis. In case of severe infection, people should compulsorily consult an ophthalmologist, Dr Kumar added.

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