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Probe ordered into fossil smuggling

india Updated: Jan 08, 2009 00:50 IST
Salil Mekaad
Salil Mekaad
Hindustan Times
Probe ordered into fossil smuggling.

The Dhar administration has launched a probe into smuggling of fossils from tribal belt of Manawar, around 140 km from here. A team of senior officials will visit the area to collect inputs on plant and marine fossil sites, dinosaur nesting spots and bones dating back to Cretaceous era, official sources said.

The Hindustan Times on Wednesday wrote about dinosaur eggs, bones, and marine fossils being smuggled out of Manawar. An investigation by HT and some amateur explorers revealed that the smugglers were using some galleries in Pune to reach global buyers.

A committee will assess the fossil wealth and ways to preserve it. “We’re in the process of getting in touch with the divisional forest officer to make a combined effort to preserve the fossil wealth,” district collector Rajkumar Pathak told HT.

The area drew attention after dinosaur eggs and nesting sites were unearthed in February 2007 by Mangal Panchayatan Parishad, a group of amateur explorers. Apart from dinosaur eggs and bones, plant fossils dating back to Cretaceous era, which ended 65 million years ago, are found in abundance here. The sites fall in forest as well as revenue lands.

The forest department is working to preserve dinosaur nesting sites and also on a plan to declare the entire area as protected.