Did your ‘Friends’ personality quiz label you a Ross? Was your childhood spent watching and rewatching Jurassic Park? Do you have an answer to every question about evolution? We won’t patronise you if you don’t. But if you wish to learn more than you already know or maybe view everything you already know about. Here is our list of spectacular fossil parks in India.
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Mandla Plant Fossils National Park, Madhya Pradesh
The word ‘fossils’ usually forms a quick visual of dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures. However, fossils also consist of preserved plants and vegetation. With an impressive collection of 31 genera and 18 plant families, Mandla Plant Fossils National Park is sprawled over seven villages in Dindori district of Madhya Pradesh. One can find fossil forms belonging to the plant kingdom existing in India as long ago as 40 million to 150 million years ago. Fossils in this park belong to climbers, plants, flowers, seeds and fruits. If botany or history interests you, this park should make it high up on your bucket list.
Siwalik Fossil Park, Himachal Pradesh
There is no question that fossilized finds are extremely significant to advance our knowledge on evolution and time even before humans trailed the earth. Built in order to avoid any ignorant destruction of fossils, Siwalik Fossil Park was built over a chunk of 1.5 square kilometres. Many samples found in this area are now under the possession of the American Museum of Natural History, the British Museum as well as the Indian Museum in Kolkata. Currently, the park also contains life-size models of prehistoric animals made of fiberglass and resin. A walk through the park will transform you back a million years. Additionally, the park also houses a museum where visitors can get an up close look at the rare collection of vertebrate fossils recovered from the hills.
Indroda Dinosaur and Fossil Park, Gujarat
One of India’s most elaborate paleontology displays, the Indroda Dinosaur and Fossil Park in Gandhinagar occupies a stunning area of 4 square kilometres. Run by the Gujarat Ecological Education and Research Foundation (GEER), the dinosaur park is the only one of its kind in the country. The park flaunts a zoo, botanical garden, amphitheatre and camping facilities. It also showcases massive skeletons of sea mammals. The park is named ‘India’s Jurassic Park’ and is also the world’s second biggest dinosaur hatchery. Camp on site and live out your Jurassic Park fantasies.
National Fossil Wood Park, Tamil Nadu
While we have covered animals and plants, Tamil Nadu’s two National Fossil Wood Park bring something new (well, actually old) to the table. Situated in Sattanur and Tiruvakkarai, these parks bring fossilized trees to the public eye. In Sattanur, one can find large tree trunks of conifers from the Upper Cretaceous age. The land was dominated by these non-flowering trees before the advent of Angiosperms (flowering plants that can be found today). While you can look up at the petrified trees in Sattanur, Tiruvakkarai instead gives you a display of felled trees. Here, 200 fossil trees are laid horizontally in Cuddalore Sandstone from the Mio-Pliocene age.
Salkhan Fossils Park, Uttar Pradesh
Officially Sonbhadra Fossils Park, the Salkhan Fossil Park in Uttar Pradesh also gives the visitors a chance to view and understand tree fossils. The petrified trees in this park are found as tree trunks. It is said these are over 1400 million years old and can be traced back to the Proterozoic period. A generous area of 2.5 square kilometres is dedicated to the park that holds some very impressive algae and stromatolites samples.
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Akal Wood Fossil Park, West Bengal
Following the trend of wood fossils on this list, Akal Wood Fossil Park represents the prehistoric heritage well. The 2.1 square kilometres area once started out as a forest, later to be submerged. The land, now no longer underwater, displays the remnants of the trees in the forest. Tin foil protection keeps the preservation intact. An important slice of history has been well-documented in this park.