Indian fossils threatened by corporate greed


Plant fossil of Ginkgoites

This photo is from an Australian Cretaceous gingko tree fossil, from a flora related to the Rajmahal flora.

From the BBC:

Rare fossils in India threatened

Geologists are calling for an immediate ban on stone mining in the area

By Salman Ravi
BBC News, Sahebganj, Jharkhand

A treasure trove of history preserved by nature for millions of years in eastern India is threatened with extinction.

Plant fossils, scattered all over the Rajmahal Hills in Sahebganj district of Jharkhand state, are fast finding their way into the hundreds of crusher machines that are reducing them into stone chips to be used in road construction.

Spread over approximately 2,600 sq km, the Rajmahal Hills are home to plant fossils dating back between 68 million years and 145 million years.

Over the years, geologists and palaeobotanists from all over the world have visited the area for their research.

Here, scientists could lay their hands on some of the rarest plant fossils ever conserved by nature.

Examples of these Jurassic age plant fossils – known as Rajmahal Flora – are to be found in many museums across the globe.

The Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany in the northern city of Lucknow also has an impressive collection.

‘Worried’

But this wonder of nature is fast disappearing and geologists say the fossils may soon all be gone.

The state government of Jharkhand has given out a mining lease in the area to private companies who are practically blowing up the hills to obtain rocks which are then crushed to make stone chips.

5 thoughts on “Indian fossils threatened by corporate greed

  1. India

    Aquatic lives in the form of fossils found in Meghalaya
    Shillong | Monday, May 4 2009 IST

    Researchers have discovered aquatic lives in the form of fossils in Meghalaya’s Janiaw village under East Khasi Hills district.

    ”The fossils found by the riverside in Janiaw a small hamlet, about 80 km from Mawsynram village, which is reportedly the wettest place on earth, with an annual rainfall of 11,872 mm (about 39 feet), was part of a sea millions of years ago,” Prof B Kharbuli of Zoology in the North Eastern Hills University (NEHU) said.

    ”The fossils found in Janiaw are of aquatic lives that are different from fish family. They belong to aquatic lives known as echinodermata and mollusca,” Prof Kharbuli said.

    The zoologist said the echinodermata and mollusca aquactic groups were not displaced when the water level was changing. ”This type of fossil in Janiaw was first found in 1980. Though the Meghalaya government is aware of this, it has not paid any attention to preserve this place which is very unique,” he said.

    He said following the failure of the government to preserve the place, fossils were taken away by people when they visited the place and this has continued till date. Even people from Assam and other states have visited and taken away fossils from this place, Prof Kharbuli pointed out.

    Stating that most of southern part of Meghalaya, bordering Bangladesh was part of a sea millions of years ago, Prof Kharbuli said, ”When the earth is changing continuously, the water level gradually decreases and the aquatic lives are stranded. Then they die and parts of them become fossilised.”

    — (UNI) —

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