Labourers at La Martiniere for Boys School chanced upon a rare discovery as fossilised skeletons of nearly two dozen birds stumbled out of wall in which they were digging a hole for renovation.
The Zoological Survey of India suggested that the remains,discovered late on Monday,may be of a species of crows.
The building is 180 years old,school authorities said,hinting that the skeletons might be that old. They,however,could not specify a reason as to how the bird skeletons might have reached there. They school informed authorities at the Indian Museum and the ASI.
The labourers were digging holes in the wall of the inner office of the accounts section when they found these 25 skeletons,almost all,surprisingly,intact, said Supriyo Dhar,spokesperson of the school.
A team of scientists from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) visited the school and collected the samples. Officers who visited the place told me that primarily it looks like skeletons are those of crows, said K Venkataraman,director,ZSI.
Among the scientists who visited the school today,Dr G Maheshwaran,talking The Indian Express,said,They are skeletons and not fossils as fossils take millions of years to form. Prima facie,it appears these birds,probably crows,might have entered the place through a shaft,which would have later been plugged.
He said they will just compare the samples collected from the site with the specimens that they have at the ZSI to determine the species. We will not perform any test to find out how old these are,because it is not of any consequence to us, he added.
Experts have brushed aside any historical or ritual implication. I dont think there was any such ritual where birds were sacrificed in this fashion,during the time when the building was constructed. To the best of my knowledge,there is no such precedence in the India of a similar event. In America we had heard of skeletons of frogs that were found when a building was demolished, said Kaushik Ray,professor of history at Jadavpur University.