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Schoolchildren on a palaeontological expedition supported by Ryazan oil refining company

07 July 2023

Thanks to the support of the Ryazan oil refining company (part of Rosneft), the children’s environmental organisation «Master of Meschera» carried out a paleontological expedition to a sand pit in the Shatsk district of Ryazan region.

Young palaeontologists have excavated more than 200 shark teeth from the Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic era (which began about 145 million years ago and lasted about 80 million years). The teeth belong to extinct shark species: Ptychodus (Ptychodus) and Cretoxyrhina mantelli (Cretoxyrhina mantelli), which is an ancestor of the white shark.

The rare finds are of scientific interest. The specimens will be donated to the Ryazan Historical and Architectural Museum-Reserve and to one of the largest natural history museums in the world, the Yuri Orlov Paleontological Museum in Moscow. The renovated exhibitions of the museum-reserve will allow visitors to see a reconstruction of the appearance of the ancient sea and territory of the Ryazan region during the Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic era.

The existence of an ancient sea in the Ryazan region and its inhabitants is widely known around the world. In 2021, fossils from this region were discussed at an international conference in Canada. At the time, scientists identified 34 species. In 2022, they already found over 80 species in the sediments of the quarry. The finds prove that the quarry’s biodiversity is one of the greatest in the world and the richest in Russia. Scientists from the Bavarian Museum in Germany, the University of Atacama in Chile and the National Museum of Costa Rica, as well as from Australia, Austria, Great Britain, Poland, the USA and other countries, have been involved in examining the samples found in the quarry.

Note for editors:

Ryazan oil refining company has been supporting the initiatives of young volunteers since 2011. During this time, more than 150 events have been held aimed at educating schoolchildren about the environment, the world around them and the region’s historical past. In the spring of 2023, the volunteers made three expeditions across the Ryazan region — to Lake Velikoye, to the pine forest of the village of Solotcha and to the farmstead of the village of Staroye Zimino. Under the guidance of teachers, the young ecologists studied the local flora and fauna and took part in the clean-up of natural areas.

The teeth of pterosaurs and mosasaurs have been found in the Shatsk district of the Ryazan region for the first time. The former are flying reptiles, the latter are huge sea lizards. One of the pterosaur teeth was donated to the Darwin Museum in Moscow.

Information Division
July 7, 2023

Keywords: Social News 2023