11 lakh year-old skull of female elephant found in Pakistan

A 1.1 million-year-old skull of a female elephant, that measured twice the size of a jumbo today, has been discovered during excavation by Pakistani university researchers at a site in Gujrat district of Punjab province.

Syed Ghayoor Abbas, a PhD research scholar in the Zoology Department of Punjab University here, along with his team had been excavating the area – Panjan Sher Shahana Pabbi Hills – some 175 kilometres from this eastern city, for the last one- and-a-half-year.

The skull was found last week of the female elephant that lived over 1.1 million years ago in this part of Gujrat which is commonly known as ‘Pabbi Hills’.

“The skull of female elephant weighs 120 kilogramme. The scientific name of the elephant is ‘Stegodon’. During the laboratory experiments, it is found that the skull was 1.1 million years old and it belonged to the species of elephants found in Asia, Africa and Europe,” Abbas told reporters.

“The skull is 38 centimetre long and 28 centimetre wide, showing this elephant was twice as big as today’s elephants,” he said, adding the skull would be preserved and more research carried out to better understand the species of elephants of that era.

Abbas further said: “The discovery will help scientists understand the genetic, hereditary and evolution of the animal.

“We have also found fossils of many different animals and species in the area. These rare fossils would be shown to the world for further study.”

The skull would be placed at the Punjab University’s Jehlum Campus for study by local and foreign research scholars. At some later stage, it will be placed at a museum in Lahore, university spokesman Khurram Shahzad said.