Findings suggest that this river used to run through the Thar Desert near Bikaner in Rajasthan, and used to be the lifeline of people from the Stone Age period. By Tanvi Jain

A research that was recently published in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews, has revealed the findings of a river that used to run through the Thar Desert, at least 1,72,000 years ago, near Bikaner in Rajasthan, and was likely the lifeline of people from the Stone Age era.   

“This evidence indicates a river flowed with phases of activity dating to approx. 172, 140, 95 and 78 thousand years ago, nearby to Bikaner, which is over 200 kilometres away from the nearest modern river. These findings predate evidence for activity in modern river courses across the Thar Desert as well as dried up course of the Ghaggar-Hakra River. The presence of a river running through the central Thar Desert would have offered a life-line to Palaeolithic populations, and potentially an important corridor for migrations,” ScienceDaily mentioned. 

As per researchers from Anna University in Tamil NaduIISER Kolkata and The Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany, the Thar Desert that housed the Stone Age population was completely different from the one we know today.  

“Thar may be a desert now but there are several paleochannels — where rivers would have once flown — in the region that are buried by sand dunes. In certain places, such as Nal, the gravel deposits are exposed and that helped us directly date one such river system for the first time,” Professor Hema Achyuthan of Anna University told Times of India. 

This discovery has now brought the researchers to their next step, which is to find out from where did the river flow, for which satellite images and studies reportedly hint towards the Himalayan river Sutlej“We can’t demonstrate where the river flowed from at present. But the Indira Gandhi Canal, sourced from the Sutlej River, gives us some insight into what happens when a river flows through the centre of the Thar Desert — plants and wildlife flourish, providing ideal conditions for early human populations,” Jimbob Blinkhorn from The Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, was quoted as saying by the ScienceDaily.  

Related: On Your Next Trip To Jaisalmer, Unravel The Secrets Of Thar