Fossils – our natural link to the ancient past

Fossils are mineralized remains of living organisms that existed on the surface of the Earth in ancient geological past. They are a direct, physical proof of the changes and evolution of nature that occurred during the relief development on our planet and are a testament of climate, weather and physical transformations on Earth and in nature. Fossils can be divided into several groups: based on their origin, the way they were formed, the period they originate from and the locations where they are found.

Fossil remains can be found in the open – on the surface of the soil as a result of water or wind erosion; they can be found by accident during various mining or technical excavations, during farming or quite by accident.

The locations where fossils can be found are called fossil sites or fossil deposits. Some fossils have an important role today in industry, medicine and the beauty industry, so they are used and excavated for commercial purposes – however, the majority of them are only of scientific importance. In many countries around the world each fossil is considered a national natural treasure and the trade in fossils is strictly regulated. The best way to protect and manage the sites where fossils of scientific value and paleontological importance were found is to formally protect them.

Thus, geological sites with particular fossils are often under certain level of protection. In North Macedonia there are several sites of geological and paleontological importance and they are under formal protection by the state, however there are others which are not formally protected but are on the list of geological sites of great significance. In the Bregalnica region there are several important paleontological sites, including the most recent small area under protection, the natural rarity Stamer.

This is a unique site, rich in Pikermi fauna that is a testament of what our country looked like several million years ago. The remains of a new species of proto-giraffe were discovered here, which were named Sivatherium garevski, after the first Macedonian paleontologist, dr. Risto Garevski.

The protection of important paleontological sites has various benefits:

1.Conservation of nature’s past

By protecting paleontological sites, we also take care of and protect the region’s and the country’s natural past. This also ensures that future generations will be able to learn about the paleontological past

2.Development of science

In order for paleontology and related natural sciences to develop, it is necessary to ensure adequate conditions. Protected, organized and well managed paleontological sites are a great start.

3.Raising public awareness and tourism development

Stories about fossils, protozoa and the tumultuous geological past have always drawn the public’s attention. By protecting fossil riches, visitors will have the opportunity to learn about fossils, their evolution and ecology, and they of course enrich the local tourist offer.



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