Aruwakkalu Fossils are of Burdigalian Age

by Madhava Meegaskumbura on January 21st, 2012

Since Deraniyagala’s seminal work from 1937 – 1969, there has been no contribution to the paleontology of the Miocene of Sri Lanka.
Using an index fossil, we estimated the age of the Miocene deposit at Aruwakkalu. The index fossil that we used is Pseudotaberina malabarica, a foraminifer of the Burdigalian age (about 21-16 million years ago). This species has an epiphytic mode of life, and in large aggregations they are considered as indicators of sea-grass vegetation, which has hitherto not been recorded from the Miocene of Sri Lanka.
Indeed we found large aggregations of this organism, and hence also inferred that there were sea grass beds around Aruwakkalu during the Miocene (just as it is present today along the coast of Puttlam).
Two of our students led this work. Ranjeev and Nilmani. This paper is also significant in the sense that: 1) it is their first paper 2) Ranjeev is my first undergraduate student’s  project 3) we now have two new paleontologists/evolutionary biologists.
Download the full paper.
Further work is being done.