‘Gigantic fossil site’ discovered near south Kashmir waterfall, claim two lecturers

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Two lecturers, working in the school education department, today claimed to have discovered a “gigantic fossil site” while scouting for samples near the Aharbal waterfall in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district.

The site is rich in fossil diversity at specific locations aged between 354 and 488 million years, news agency – Kashmir News Service (KNO) reported, quoting the lecturers, Manzoor Javaid and Dr Rouf Hamza.

Located at a distance of about two kilometres from the Ahrabal waterfall, the site is studded with thousands of fossil remains of diverse nature which got exposed due to weathering, construction of road and subsequent erosion.

“Thousands of fossils are visible at the site superficially without any excavation. This is an indication that a huge haul of fossils could be hidden beneath,” Dr Hamza said, as per KNO.

He said if the potential areas of the site are excavated, it may reveal an astonishing fossil world to the scientific community.

“During preliminary investigation, it was revealed that the fossil samples fall between the Ordovician and Devonian period. However, it needs to be ascertained through serious research and Carbon Dating,” he added.

Dr Hamza said the organisms commonly found during this period belong to Bryozoa (Fenestella, Fenestrillina, Trepestome, Rhombopore), Trilobites, Crinoids, Brachiopods, Corals etc. “However, the site needs to be evaluated for other fossil flora and fauna,” he said.

Rouf claimed that “till date it is presumably the biggest find in J&K in terms of occurrence, area, diversity and age of the fossils”.

“Interestingly, most of the fossil sites have been discovered either by foreigners or by professionals. However, this is the only discovery in Jammu and Kashmir made by amateur fossil hunters,” he claimed.

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