A Dinosaur named Tagore


Life reconstruction of Barapasaurus tagorei (© D. Bogdanov)


In 1958 a team of geologists from the Indian Statistical Institute discovered a 47 feet long sauropod dinosaur. It was excavated during a subsequent expedition in 1960-61. The ISI geologists christened the dinosaur as Barapasaurus tagorei. The name is a coinage of Bara pa, which means ‘big leg’ in Hindi, saurus, which is a standard suffix in zoological names of lizard-like creatures, and Tagore. The discovery was named after Tagore because the excavation coincided with the birth centenary year of the poet Rabindranath Tagore ( who was born on May 1861),

Tagore was a well-wisher of ISI. Tagore coined the Bengali word for statistics rashi vigyan or rashi vidya and wrote a poem in the inaugural issue of the journal of the Indian Statistical Institute. Tagore and PC Mahalanobis (founder of ISI) were close friends, despite a 30 year age difference. Mahalanobis served as the first joint secretary of Visva-Bharati for 10 years.

Barapasaurus Tagorei is housed at the Geology Museum of the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata. The skeleton is 47 feet long and has been dated to about 160 million years back . It is considered as one of the earliest known Sauropod.

Honour and recognition can come in many forms, shapes and NAMES!

For more detail refer to: Jain, S. L., T. S. Kutty, and T. K. Roy-Chowdhury. 1975. The sauropod dinosaur from the Lower Jurassic Kota Formation of India. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 188:221–228.

  1. mukherji.j@gmail.com' Amit Mukherji

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