Discovery of Paleontologists
In July 2010 during field training, graduate students from the Ilia State University Institute of Earth Sciences, scientists found foot-prints of dinosaurs. The location of the discovery lies in Martvili Region, in the canyon of the river Abasha, between the villages Gatshedili and Inchkhuri.
In August and September four investigative and research expeditions, which consisted of paleontologists and geologists, found about 20 new foot-prints. According to the primary studies, most of the found reptiles were herbivorous dinosaurs of medium size. Only three of the foot-prints belong to smaller predators. In addition to the foot-prints scientists also found some bone fragments of prehistoric reptiles in the same location. Their attention was drawn to the scull bones which, despite significant damaged, will allow the scientists to determine what group of animals the remnants belonged to. The reason for the damaged sculls lies within the fact that majority of bones which are found in the Abasha river-bed were in regular movement during the increase and decrease of the water levels. Until now scientists were not able to retrieve fragments of the bones as they are usually stuck in limestone making it impossible to retrieve. Scientists hope that specialists will take interest in the discovery and manage to retrieve, prepare, and study fragments with the use of new technologies. The variety of additional material (ammonites, brachiopods, sea urchins) gave the scientists an opportunity to define the age of the reptiles. They originate from the upper Cretaceous period of Mesozoic Era, Maastrichtian and Danish layers. Age of the fossils is 66-65 million years. The value of this discovery is increased by the fact that this is the period coinciding with a 200 million year long supremacy of dinosaurs.
The Agency of Protected Areas of the Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources has gained interested in the discovery of the scientists from the Ilia State University. On October 4-5 the excavation location was visited by the rector of the Ilia State University Gigi Tevzadze, head of the university administration Sergo Ratiani, head of the Agency Giorgi Shonvadze and governor of the Martvili Rayon Mamuka Danelia. Based on preliminary finds, the canyon area will likely be declared a protected area and awarded the status of a natural monument. The deciding Commission, which was established for are preservation is to discuss the find and present its final decision soon.
This discovery is significant in the study of geological history not only for Georgia but whole region of the South Caucasus as well.