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Iran’s Fossil Rich Sites Left without Protection


14 August 2005



Iran possesses some unique fossil rich sites, however, insufficient protection and lack of care has endangered them.



Lack of proper protection of fossil rich areas has put one of the unique Iranian treasures in danger.

Studies prove that some fossils discovered in Iran so far date back to 600 million years ago.

Mohammad Jafarian, an expert and founder of Isfahan Natural History Museum said, “There are unique fossil rich areas in Iran which are not protected at all, while in other countries, areas with rich treasures of either plant or animal fossils are fenced with barbed wire and protected attentively. The fossils unearthed at these sites are later on put on public display. In these countries no one is permitted to enter the secluded areas and the fossils discovered in the sites should not be moved out. However, in Iran a student can easily obtain some of these fossils and send them abroad to be categorized for their thesis purposes. Unfortunately most of these fossils do not return to the country.”

“People are not well informed about these issues and this has resulted in vast destructions of these fossil rich sites. Some people in Maragheh for example, which is a town in east Azarbaijan province, northwest of Iran, burn vertebrate fossils like those of rhinoceroses and elephants to make fertilizer for their farms while vertebrate fossils are among rare and unique fossils in Iran,” added Jafarian.

“As most of these fossil rich areas in Iran are deprived of a thick vegetation, discovering fossils, which are usually laid aground and don not need any excavation, is not costly at all,” explained Jaffarian, “and in some fossil rich zones one can find fossils easily scattered around the site. This facilitates the scientists’ access to the remains.”

Pointing out the undesirable aspect of accessibility of fossils to almost everyone which has caused serious and considerable damage to these sites, he went on, “If Iran were a member of International Paleontology Association, these fossils would be studied at an international level without any cost for Iranians.”

Baba Heidar region in Tchahar Mahal-o-Bakhtiyari province, Dah Mulla near Damghan, Tchriseh in north of Isfahan province, Houjdak in northern Kerman province, Parvardeh in Tabas, and Mazinou in Rabat Khan in Khorasan province are among the most prominent fossil rich sites in Iran.




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