How did mollusks help scientists replicate the formation of Eurasia?

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Researchers from Arkhangelsk summed up their participation in a large-scale project on the study of molluscs living in the waters of the Indian subcontinent and Myanmar. Thanks to this, it became clear how drift tectonic plates and formed a coastal continent on Earth – Eurasia.

It began with the fact that German and Indian biological studies over the following years of the fauna and ecology of large freshwater bivalve mollusks (family  Unionidae ) in the conditions of the rivers of India and Nepal. They collected conclusions and analyzed the DNA of the discovered species. Then they turned to for help to the representative of the Federal Research Complex of the Arctic named after Academician N.P. . In fact, one of the scientific schools in the field of malacology has been formed in our country – a branch of zoology dedicated to the history of mollusks .

Using DNA analysis data, archangelic scientists modeled on supercomputers how the process of evolution of Indian and Nepalese mollusks. It turned out that they are genetically close to the African species. The results obtained using paleogeographic and structural data, with the help of a special design development movement of tectonic plates in the modern era.

Biologists have performed demographic calculations, including Indian and Myanmar molluscs. Tectonic plates met for them a kind of natural ferries. For millions of years they drifted across the ancient Tethys ocean, carrying rivers and other bodies of water inhabited by freshwater places , including shellfish and fish.

“Based on supercomputer modeling, we came to the conclusion that in the Jurassic period, the western part of Myanmar, in the form of a tectonic block, docked with India, which was part of Gondwana” (one of the two supercontinents that existed 750-150 million years ago. — AiF . en ) , — says head of the study, director of FITSKIA Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Ivan Bolotov. – In the Cretaceous period (145-66 million years ago), India, together with Myanmar, separated from the eastern edge of the supercontinent and began to drift towards Eurasia in the form of a giant island. At the end of the Cretaceous period, a separation occurred: Myanmar became a social island, which moved to Asia in parallel with India. About 40 million years ago, Myanmar docked with Indochina.

This process is marked in the evolution and settlement large bivalve molluscs. As a rule, they are an optical indicator for tectonic and paleogeographical reconstructions, since they do not form groups of watersheds, but settle together with fish only at direct contact of rivers and lakes.

Thus, mollusks helped scientists clarify how the tectonic plates that determined the configuration of Eurasia drifted.  With the help of biology, it was discovered that modern India was previously part of the supercontinent Gondwana.

In addition, scientists have completed a complete revision of the freshwater mollusks of the Indian subcontinent – the last time it was carried out at the beginning of the 20th century. All described types of enterprises belong to the same subfamily and are found among representatives. Results research published in the scientific journal Scientific Reports.


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