10-million-year-old fossil discovered in Zanjan 

June 6, 2022 - 21:27

TEHRAN – A trace fossil estimated to date 10 million years has recently been discovered in Mahneshan county, northwestern Zanjan province, the deputy provincial tourism chief has said. 

“The fossil, which is estimated to date back to 10 million years ago, bears the footprints of a gazelle and some other herbivores and carnivores,” Mohammadreza Mohammadpur explained, CHTN reported on Monday. 

The fossilized footprints, which have been found in a small village, are of high significance due to their age, the official added. 

The fossil has been handed over to the Zanjan Natural History Museum, he mentioned. 

He also noted that Zanjan, particularly its western sections, has yielded several very old fossils so far. “It is not, however, the oldest fossil found in the country.”

Back in 2021, a fossilized piece of an extinct marine animal, estimated to date more than 180 million years, was donated to Astan Quds Razavi Museum, a vast cultural heritage exhibition located in the holy shrine complex of Imam Reza (AS) in Mashhad. 

Earlier in April, a team of paleontologists discovered traces of fossilized crabs in the Iranian heartland which may hint at a hotbed of biodiversity dating from 15 million years or so.

According to the researchers, a new species of Galene de Haan from the Mid Miocene (Langhian) strata of the Mishan Formation was exposed at two localities in Hormozgan province.

The Galene species, (“named as Galene dashtbani”), is considered the oldest representative of the genus and simultaneously the westernmost occurrence of all fossil and extant congeners known to date.

The paleontologists have discovered fossils of a species of crab in different parts of the country that suggests the Zagros Mountains were once sea waterways through which the Indian and Atlantic Oceans intersect some 10 to 15 million years ago, and Iran has been one of the hotspots of biodiversity on Earth.

Some three million historical objects are being kept in Iranian museums which are affiliated with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts.

Zanjan is one of the cities founded by Sassanid King Ardashir I (180-242 CE). The province makes a base for wider explorations with the architectural wonder of Soltaniyeh, the subterranean delights of the Katale-Khor caves, colorful mountains, and the UNESCO-registered Takht-e Soleiman ruins are nearby.

ABU/AFM 

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