There is now a general agreement among geologists that the areas now called Ariyalur and Perambalur was under the sea 65 to 145 million years ago. This fact is reflected in the huge amount of marine fossils identified in the districts.
Fascinated by these fossil deposits, two amateur palaeontologists — Nirmal Rajah and Anurag Amin, working in Dubai, decided to pay a visit to Ariyalur and their explorations have been filmed into a documentary titled ‘Unearthing the treasures of Ariyalur’.
Vaishnavi Sundar of Lime Soda Films, the maker of the documentary, says that the idea behind the film was to inspire children to take up geology and palaeontology.
Ms. Vaishnavi says while the “fossil treasure” of Ariyalur is surprisingly well known outside India, there was little awareness about this geologically unique place domestically. “Abroad, a place like this would have been converted into a great tourist attraction,” she feels. Adding to this was the fact that the lime deposits seem to be heavily exploited by local cement factories.
The film has been done under the banner of Nirmukta, a freethinkers group with presence across India. The documentary will be released on Tuesday.