Fossil museum in Ariyalur all set for grand opening

The much-awaited fossil museum at Varanavasi near Ariyalur town is almost complete. The state-of-art museum in the district, a favourite haunt of international geologists and palaeontologists, is likely to be thrown open to the public in a few days by the Chief Minister.

The museum, which has come up on 100 acres, showcases the natural formation of cretaceous rocks that provide clear evidence of the existence of dinosaurs and other associated reptilian fossils in the Ariyalur region. A building, which has provisions to exhibit fossils, rocks and minerals from the Pre-Cambrian period, the Palaeozoic period, the Jurassic period and the Cretaceous period, has been constructed.

Besides showcasing the rare collection of fossils, the museum would have on display cretaceous rocks of marine origin dating back to several million years. A 40-acre section of the site museum with a mix of small and big mounds signifying layers of land-formation over a large duration of time will offer visitors a peek into the distant past. The layers of the mounds (some up to about 30 feet) will serve as a perfect laboratory for the study of geology of the entire area, officials said.

Minister for Tamil Official Language and Tamil Culture ‘Ma Foi’ K. Pandiarajan, who inspected the progress of the museum on Thursday, said it would stand out as a model for showcasing the history associated with the emergence of humans and marine organism. Besides photographs, charts, and models of the fossils, the museum will also have exhibits on petrology, replica of dinosaur and other artefacts. Since it was one of the very few museums dedicated for fossils in the world, he said the State would take steps to include it in the world tourism map.

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