• Northeast India, a bamboo hotspot, has thrown up several bamboo fossils.
  • One of them at around 28 million years old, is the oldest Asian bamboo fossil ever unearthed.
  • At Assam’s Makum Coalfield, they came across three culm (bamboo stem) fossils, one almost a metre long.
  • At the Subansiri Formation of Doimara in Arunachal Pradesh, the team also came across two bamboo leaf fossils.
  • The leaf fossils belong to two different bamboos, Bambusium doimaraense and B. arunachalense (named after where they were unearthed from), approximately 10 million years old (dating to the age of the sandstone deposits, in the late Miocene-Pliocene).
  • The culm fossils have been named new species too: Bambusiculmus tirapensis and Bambusiculmus makumensis.
  • These are around 28 million years old and date to the late Oligocene period.
  • The earliest bamboos in Asia probably originated in eastern Gondwana, which comprises India too
  • This is not surprising because northeast is a centre of diversity for bamboos, as is nearby southern China.
  • Secondly, based on vegetation reconstruction and climate prediction studies, ancient bamboos probably evolved during a warm and humid period.
  • However, they seem to have adapted over the years and modern bamboos are found in both warm and cold climates now.