The Shivalik Fossil Park Museum is said to be the largest fossil park in Asia. Located in Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh, this fossil park has been marked as a National Geo-Heritage Monument. It has the biggest collection of skeletons and prehistoric fossils. These were recovered from the geological formations of clay and sandstones located at Sukati. You will find amazing fossil finds around the park. You will also come across an open-air exhibition that contains six life-sized models of mammals that are extinct. These models are made of fiberglass and are placed in the Sivalik Hills environment. All the exhibits in the park are also used in order to generate interest among the general public and also to attract research scholars from all corners of the world.
The site for the museum was chosen as Suketi village because a number of fossils were found there. This place is approximately 22 km away from Nahan and is located at the foot of the Himalayas. The park is spread across 1.5 square km and is extensively forested. There is an information desk at the park as well. It is better to approach the park in a small vehicle as the approaching road is very narrow.
There are a number of special models on display in the open area. As mentioned earlier, the six extinct animal models are out in the open. These animals are the large tusk elephant, huge land tortoise, saber-tooth cat, four horn giraffe and a hippopotamus.
The model is the saber-tooth cat shows that the cat had very large upper canine teeth and this would help it tear its prey open. It is said that this cat became extinct around the same time that a number of elephants went extinct. The model of the hippopotamus is similar to the modern animal however, this animal is now extinct. The model shows that it had six incisors, a larger mouth, a longer lower jaw, a small brain cavity and legs that resemble that of a pig.
The giant land tortoise looks similar to the modern-day tortoise, however; it is much larger in size. The large tusk elephants had a small cranium, very long tusks, and massive limbs. The four horn giraffe has a large skill and a shorter neck as compared to the modern day giraffe.
Wide Range Of Exhibits
The museum is home to a number of exhibits and skeletal remains of a number of different groups. You will get to see the limbs and the skulls of mammals, the skulls of tortoises, skulls of gharials, Hexaprotodon skulls and crocodile skulls. You will also get to see tusks of over 22 kinds of elephants. The museum also has charts, rocks, and paintings that point to animal and plant life of the past. It is said that all the stone items that are on display come from the early Paleolithic man. Other things that you will find in the museum are Sivapithecus fossils, Ramapithecus fossils and two genera of extinct primate fossils.
Featured Photo by Dallas Krentzel