Fossils - Current Affairs Questions and Answers

1)   Indian researchers have found molecular evidence of the presence of which species more than 25,000 years ago?

a. Ostrich
b. Eagle
c. Kite
d. Peacock
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Ostrich

Indian researchers have found molecular evidence confirming the presence of ostrich in India more than 25,000 years ago.

This evidence was unearthed during the DNA analysis of a fossilized eggshell fragment of ostrich.

Researchers found 92% genetic similarity between fossil eggshell samples and Struithio camelus, a species of ostrich found in Africa.

This is the first time that molecular evidence indicating the presence of ostrich in India was found in the eggshell fragments.

In total 11 fossilised eggshell samples from 8 archaeological sites in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat were studied.

The DNA was isolated from five samples and a tiny portion of a highly conserved mitochondrial region was enlarged and then sequenced from one of the samples.

The other four samples had less than 30 base pairs and so, were not included in the study.

This is the first time that a long-term DNA preservation in fossil eggshell collected from tropical environments has been studied in India.

2)   Ireland is the world's first country to completely divest from _________

a. Renewable energy
b. Non renewable energy
c. Fossil fuels
d. Both b and c
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both b and c

Ireland has become the world’s first country to completely divest from fossil fuels.

With respect to this, Irish Parliament passed legislation that will drop coal, oil, and gas (fossil fuel) investments from its $8.56 billion Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.

Once enacted, the bill will force the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to sell its investment in fossil fuel industries over the next five years.

Earlier in 2015, Norway’s sovereign pension fund had divested from some fossil fuel companies, but not fully.

Fossil Fuels: Know More

  • Fossil fuels are fuels formed by natural processes.
  • This is such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms.
  • This is containing energy originating in ancient photosynthesis.
  • The age of the organisms and their resulting fossil fuels is typically millions of years.
  • Fossil fuels contain high percentages of carbon and include petroleum, coal, and natural gas.
  • Other commonly used derivatives include kerosene and propane.
  • The theory that fossil fuels formed from the fossilized remains of dead plants was first introduced by Georgius Agricola in 1556.

3)   Scientists have discovered the oldest fossils in which part of the world?

a. Greenland
b. Iceland
c. Finland
d. England
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Greenland

Scientists have discovered the oldest fossils in the world aged about 3.7 billions years which pushed back the previous record by 220 million years and captures the earliest history of the planet.

  • The team discovered the 3.7 billion year old stromatolite fossils in the world’s oldest sedimentary rocks in Isua Greenstone Belt along the edge of Greenland’s ice cap
  • Discovery of these fossils provide deep understanding of early diversity of life on Earth which could have implications for understanding Martian life forms.
  • Fossils predate the previous oldest stromatolite fossils in Western Australia by 220 million years
  • Discovery pushes back the fossil record to near the start of the Earth’s geographical record and points to evidence of life on earth very early in history
  • Isua stromatolites which were exposed by recent melting of a perennial snow path were laid down in shallow sea providing the first evidence of environment in which early life grew
  • For much of earth’s history, life was just single cells and stromatolite fossils are mounds of carbonate constructed by communities of microbes
  • This indicates that 3.7 billion years ago, microbial life was already diverse
  • Diversity shows life emerged within first few 100 million years of earth’s existence in keeping with biologist calculations showing great equity of life’s genetic code
  • This discovery represents a new benchmark for the oldest preserved evidence of life on earth

4)   Geneticists decoded the DNA of more than ______ years old fossil barley in a cave near the Dead Sea in Israel.

a. 5000
b. 5500
c. 6000
d. 6500
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 6000

Geneticists were able to extract and decode the DNA of the oldest beans in the history of mankind fossil barley placed more than 6000 years ago within a cave near the Dead Sea in Israel.

  • This suggests domestication of barley in the fertile crescent was a long time before the advent of Bible
  • All the artifacts including stems and seeds of the plants buried in the soil at the bottom well preserved and existed 6200-5800 thousand years ago i the beginning of the copper age or in terms of biblical myths even prior to the floods.
  • The gene antediluvian barley was earlier believed to be akin to the DNA of wild species of cereals.

5)   Scientists discover oldest known population of plant root stem cells in a fossil which is how old?

a. 310 million years
b. 320 million years
c. 330 million years
d. 340 million years
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 320 million years

Scientists have found the oldest known population of plant root stem cells in a 320 million year old fossil, providing a clue on how ancient roots have developed

  • Research marks the first time an actively growing fossilised root has been discovered- an ancient plant frozen in time
  • Cells which give rise to the roots of the ancient plant were found in fossilised root tip at UK’s Oxford University
  • Stem cells are self renewing cells responsible for the formation of multicellular organisms
  • These are located in plants at the tips of roots and shoots in groups called meristems
  • 320 million year old stem cells are different to those living today with a unique pattern of cell division unknown until now

6)   Scientists have discovered a new species of duck billed dinosaur in the US that roamed the earth how many million years ago?

a. 77
b. 79
c. 78
d. 80
Answer  Explanation 


Scientists have discovered the fossils of a new species of duck billed dinosaur in the US which existed on earth around 79 million years ago. Dinosaur species was uncovered by Montana State University researchers. This shows an evolutionary transition from the earlier duck billed species to the descendants of the group. This dinosaur species uncovered the gap between an ancient form with no crest and descendants who subsequently bore large crests. Elizabeth Freedman Fowler and MSU paleontologist Jack Horner named the dinosaur Probrachylophosaurus bergei and indicated that it was the missing link between a preceding species, Acristavus, which lived about 81 million years ago, and form Brachylophosaurus, which lived about 77.5 million years ago.

7)   Remains of a _____ million year old dinosaur were revealed in the border area between S. Africa and Lesotho on November 11, 2015.

a. 250
b. 300
c. 200
d. 150
Answer  Explanation 


The fossils of a 200 million year old dinosaur was the largest plant eating creature ever found in the border area between S. Africa and Lesotho. University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg researchers made the discovery. Remains belong to a huge plant eater the Highland Giant which is the largest animal ever found in this region. To give an idea of the size of the fossil, a femur of the Highland Giant is 1 metre long.

8)   The youngest ever fossils of a type of giant hadrosaur living around 70 million years ago has been discovered in Mongolia, known as ___________.

a. Saurolophus angustirostris
b. Saurolophus morrisi/augustynolophus
c. Saurolophus osborni
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Saurolophus angustirostris

Baby dinosaur fossils with fragments of egg shells have been discovered in Mongolia being the youngest ever of a type of giant hadrosaur that resided on earth 70 million years ago namely Saurolophus angustirostris which stands for “lizard crest”. This discovery shows how dinosaurs grew and developed from birth to adulthood. The fossils were discovered from a site called Dragon’s Tomb in Gobi Desert.