1.2 Solve the jigsaw puzzle

It took nearly 50 years for Wegener’s arguments to be scientifically proved. A great deal of geological data proved Wegener’s suspicion : The earth’s crust is a patchwork of plates and these plates are moving relative to each other. This led to the modern theory of plate tectonics.
Here’s how we believe what happened :

A billion years ago, there was a supercontinent called Rodinia. It was probably located south of the equator but we are unsure of its shape/size/position. This supercontinent broke up around 750 million years ago and various pieces (called continents today) began to drift apart. This period is loosely called the Pre-Cambrian period. There were only single cell organisms like bacterias were alive then.

Story on how life on earth evolved has begun in this article series.

Fossil records show that around 530 million years ago, there was sudden appearance of large number of complex organisms on the earth. This is called Cambrian Explosion – BUT we are talking Geological explosion, which took millions of years to happen actually. Over next 70-80 million years, a whole new array of life forms evolved. While all of this was happening, continental land masses began to reassemble and, about 270 million years ago, fused into a new supercontinent called Pangea.

You must have noticed Map of Pangea in previous article where the Indian Craton is wedged between Africa, Madagascar, Antarctica and Australia.

(A craton is a large, stable block of earth which forms the centre of a continent.)

It was on Pangea that the dinosaurs appeared 230 million years ago. But the earth was still restless and Pangea began to break up around 175 million years ago, during the Jurassic era. It first split into a northern continent called Laurasia (consisting of North America, Europe and Asia) and southern continent called Gondwana (Africa, South America, Antarctica, Australia and India.)

Heard of the Gond tribe of central India – well, this is where the name comes from!