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‘Century-old Indian Dinosaur Fossils yet to be Recovered and Restored,’ says a British Geologist

A major chunk of the excavated bones were shipped to the British and American museums, and subsequently returned to India and presently housed in Indian Museum and GSI, Kolkata

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Dinosaur fossil in a museum. Representational image. Youtube
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Kolkata, November 11, 2016: A section of fossil records of Indian dinosaurs, described by British geologist Charles Matley in the early 20th century, are yet to be traced and some, which are housed in the Indian Museum here, have not even been restored, an expert said.

“Some of the collections which he (Matley) claimed were restored back to India are missing over the last 100 years. Some of the specimens are in a bad shape and improperly stored. The challenge is to describe the collected material and restore it.

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“It is a big challenge to restore them as they are extremely fragile,” veteran palaeontologist D.M. Mohabey said at a national workshop on applications of palaeontology in archaeology at the museum on Wednesday.

“Restore the specimens which are misplaced. Some of the specimens packed in 1932 have not been opened yet. They are in writings of Matley,” he demanded.

Narrating the history of excavations of dinosaur fossils in India, Mohabey, a former Joint Director General of the Geological Survey of India (GSI), said the period 1917-33 was the first golden age of research on Indian dinosaurs when Matley carried out excavations in two expeditions (1917-1921 and 1932-1933) in the lameta sediments at Jabalpur (in now Madhya Pradesh) and at Pisdura (now Maharashtra).

Matley’s collections were subsequently distributed in three museums across the world: British Museum of Natural History (BMNH) (now the Natural History Museum), London, the American Museum of Natural History, New York (AMNH) and Indian Museum.

A major chunk of the excavated bones were shipped to the British and American museums for preparation and description, and subsequently returned to India and presently housed in Indian Museum and GSI, Kolkata, said Mohabey, adding the foreign museums still house critical specimens from the collection.

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“But at the same time a section of the specimens that he had collected were never taken to Britain.

“They lie here only, in the galleries of the Indian Museum which the GSI maintains. Many are in the same stage in which he had excavated and packed… they are still like that. Some of the collections were never opened,” he said.

The GSI and the University of Michigan have recently embarked on a programme to recover missing fossil bones in museum collections and to collect new bones from field sites.

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Efforts at the Indian Museum and GSI repositories have resulted in the recovery of the misplaced holotypic (a single specimen used as basis for original description of species) caudal vertebra of India’s first dinosaur, Titanosaurus indicus. (IANS)

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Google Along with Other SSocial Media Giants will Face The Lawmakers, Wikimedia Commons
Google Along with Other SSocial Media Giants will Face The Lawmakers, Wikimedia Commons

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?