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India's 'Young Palaeontologist' Takes the Lead in Promoting IGD to Schools

For International Geodiversity Day 2023, 16 year old palaeontologist Aswatha Biju organised and hosted a number of events in India. Read more about her work below.

Aswatha Biju leads an exhibition to students as part of 'CarnivalTime'

Aswatha is a young palaeontologist from India and the founder of the Fossil Forever Club. On October 14th, on account of International Geodiversity Day and International Fossil Day, she organized the first club event of her FFC club along with her club members at Vidhya Matriculation Higher Secondary School. With a gathering of around 120 passionate students and 1000 other students, a one-day Fossil carnival had been brought together with the collaboration and kind cooperation of the school management, teachers, principal, and the correspondent, Mr. Vidhyasagar.

The day began with a Tamil national song by the girl's school choir, followed by the lighting of lamps by the guests of honor. Next, a brief introduction to International Fossil Day and International Geodiversity Day was delivered by Aswatha Biju, after which the Fossil Forever Club's booklet was released by the guests of honor. The first Dr K. Ayyasami (Retr. Director of the Ministry of Mines), talked about the development of palaeontology and the resources of fossils, which included a interactive session with the school students. Dr CH Satyanarayana (a coral research consultant at the Zoological Survey of India), talk on coral biodiversity and conservation of the underwater world. Mr. Joshua, who is pursuing second-year geology from Pondicherry University, led an interactive session with the students on dinosaurs. After this came 'Carnival Time', which was opened by Captain Natesan. More than 1000 students had an opportunity to explore 7 different stalls on various topics and aspects of palaeontology, each one exhibited by members of the FFC club. The stalls were:

  1. Evolution of Life: Origami Models of Prehistoric Organisms by Sanjeetha

  2. How does a living organism (invertebrates) undergo Fossilization through experimental setup by Hithesh Kannan

  3. A Journey to the World of Dinosaurs through model and palaeosketch display by Sai Sanjna

  4. Prehistoric Mammals and their step by step evolution through Comic strips by Amithaneyan

  5. Predators and Prey: Introduction to Prehistoric Life through clay models and handmade geological timescale by Griffin Beno

  6. Megalodon facts and teeth model by Kayalvizhi and Heramban

  7. The Richness of Cretaceous of Trichinopoly through a display of fossils and a model of sedimentary layers by Aswatha Biju

The first day ended with a presentation by the founder of the Fossil Forever Club, Aswatha Biju, on geological ethics. The next day, October 15th, Aswatha took the FFC members on a field trip to the Cretaceous of Trichinopoly Cauvery river basin (Ariyalur) where they visited Karai (a geoheritage site) and TANCEM mines for sample collection under the guidance of her mentor Mr. Prasad. The group also saw Sattanur fossil wood park and Sattanur education center (a geoheritage site) for a theoretical understanding of the Ariyalur basin.

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