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Iran's Maragheh Fossil Zone Unique

Tehran, July 19, IRNA -Transfer of fossils discovered in Maragheh, East Azarbaijan province, to the leading museums throughout the world has gained momentum in recent years.

According to Iran Daily English newspaper a representative of Iranian Natural History Museum said that Maragheh was once the habitat of gigantic prehistoric animals millions of years ago prior to the eruption of a volcano at Sahand Mountain.

Gholamreza Zare further said that Maragheh Fossil Area has been considered as the global hub for fossils because of the great diversity of remnants of various animal species.

"Most of the archeologists from Russia, France, Britain and the Netherlands have transferred a large number of fossils unearthed in the area to Vienna Museum for restoration," he noted.

Zare further said that a total of 573 animal fossils have been discovered in Maragheh since 1972.

Lack of suitable museums to preserve the fossils was the main reason for their transfer to foreign countries, he said, adding that currently Natural History Museum and the Department of Environment (DoE) have created suitable conditions for their maintenance.

Zare hoped that the invaluable collection will be returned to Iran following efforts by officials as well the decisions to be taken by the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

While fossils of invertebrates have been found in Spain, France, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Russia, Afghanistan and China, he added that the large variety of the well-preserved fossils, including those of 32 species of mammals and two kinds of birds, has made Maragheh Fossil Zone one of the unique regions in the world.

It is also one of the four recognized areas to contain human remains from the prehistoric era dating back to 100-200 million years ago, he added.

Maragheh, which has an altitude of 1,485 meters from the sea level, is located to the southwest of Tabriz.

... Payvand News - 7/20/06 ... --

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