Staff Reporter

Excavation during a geological study near Ariyalur Excavation part of geographical mapping

ARIYALUR: About 20 pieces of different body parts of a couple of dinosaurs were unearthed at a mine near Kolakkanatham near here on Monday.

The excavation was conducted by 20 students and faculty members of the Postgraduate and Research Department of Geology of V.O. Chidambaram College, Tuticorin, as part of a geological mapping in and around Ariyalur.

Hitherto only eggs of dinosaurs were unearthed at various fossil sites. This is the first time the body parts of the species were found, says A. V. Udayana Pillai, a professor of geology and a palaeontologist.

The pieces, all weighing 10 tonnes, reflect the head, tail, jaws, spinal chord ornamentations, legs, eyes and skeletal parts. "The massive fossil had broken into pieces owing to the process of mining. We have regrouped them for arriving at a proper shape," said G. Manimaran, geology professor.

Their exact age would be ascertained only after further research at Tuticorin. The Cretaceous and Jurassic deposits in and around Ariyalur were believed to date to the Upper Gondwana period, Mr. Pillai said.

Preliminary studies indicated that the fossils were of continental, and not marine, deposits.

The dinosaurs could have been trapped in a squeeze bond of freshwater lakes.

"The cells and tissues of the animals had been converted into mineral matter," he said.

The fossils were transported to Tuticorin on Tuesday.