Jharkhand villagers want campaign to conserve 145 million-year-old foodgrain fossils

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Kathghar (Jharkhand), March 7 (ANI): Rare foodgrain fossils, dating back to 145 million years and recently found in Jharkhand's Katghar village, have become the talk of the town here, as locals are stressing on the need to conserve them.

Foodgrain fossils are a rare phenomena and, this region, is the only place in the world to have it.

The Gondwana seed plant, now extinct, is one of the plants where fossil flora can be found. Other foodgrains like wheat pulses, rice, cucumber seeds etc. are found in rock form in abundance.

These foodgrains have attracted many researchers from abroad and across the country.

"Even after so many studies, nobody knows the exact cause of the presence of these fossils here. It is matter of research as to why is it found only in this place, when there is so much mineral reserve in the nearby area-China clay is available, sand stone is found, fireclay is also found. Why are these fossils found in Katghar only? It is a subject matter of research, and I believe, if more studies are conducted by the geo-scientists, it will prove to be a precious heritage for the locals," said Sita Ram Singh, a professor at the Sidhu Kanu University in Jharkhand.

However, these unique foodgrains have not been conserved properly.

Villagers lament government apathy on the matter.

"Many tourists from across the country and abroad have come here to collect plant fossils. They are in touch with us. But the government has done nothing to preserve it," said Ganga Prasad Thakkur, a villager.

The locals relate this to the visit of a saint. He was denied food by the king of this place and he had cursed the king. As a result, the foodgrain store of the king turned into stones.

Studies by geologists have proved that symbiotic nitrogen fixation or nutrient mobilization occured during the early Cretaceous Period in the region and it resulted in fossilization of these grains.

Although most of the hard plant parts get fossilized, it is seldom that the sub-cellular organelle is preserved in form of fossils. By Girija Shankar Ojha (ANI)

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