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Fossilised remains of a herd of Rhinoceros unearthed in Lunugala

19 Jan 2022 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

By Prasanna Pathmasiri   

The fossilised skeletal remains of a herd of Rhinoceros that died in a meteoric shower more than 80,000 years ago have been unearthed from an 80ft deep gem mine at the foot of Rilaulu hill range in Lunugala in Madolsima.  

Biologist of the Post Graduate Institute of Archaeology Kelum Nalinda Manamendra Arachchi said scientists who examined the fossils confirmed that they were the skulls of Rhinoceros that lived in the Pleistocene age. He said it was sad that the relevant authorities had not taken any interest in these finds to conduct further research, although nearly 16 years had elapsed since the first of the fossils were found.  

 “The first of the fossils had been unearthed from the 80ft deep gem mine in 1996. I with then Director General of Archaeology Dr. Shiran Deraniyagala visited the scene and collected the remains of two skulls. The Faculty of Bio-Science of the Peradeniya University and Dr. Mohan Abeyratne examined the fossils and confirmed that they were those of Rhinoceros that lived 80,000 years ago,” he said   

He further said scientists were of the opinion that the pre-historic animal that lived in this area of thick rain forests 80,000 years ago would have died due to a meteoric shower. He stressed the need to conduct further research at the site.