The Minister of Science visits Caldera to support the new Research and Advancement Corporation for Atacama’s Paleontology and Natural History (CIAHN Atacama) –a non-profit private organization created to protect, conserve, research, spread and add value to the regional heritage– and commit the Ministry to develop science in the territory, highlighting the opportunity for scientific research in Atacama and using available tools of the Ministry of Science to promote it, since the paleontological treasure of the region deserves to have a research center.
After visiting Caldera, the Minister of Sciences Andrés Couve said that “this was territorial deployment which started the last Tuesday in Las Campanas observatory and continued in this new paleontological center to commit ourselves in the promotion of these distinctive sectors of the region. We have talked a lot about natural labs, comparative advantages; our regional paleontology has a comparative advantage, whose deposits are not only a regional heritage, but also a national asset; we need to know more about it and its association with other evolution sciences, zoology, geology, so as to produce knowledge from Atacama to the world”.
The Minister also visited the Paleontological Museum of Caldera and have a look to the paleontological work developed by municipal employees in the geological sector known as Bahía Inglesa Formation, a site with outcrops of 8-million-year petrified vestiges such us remains of fish and marine crocodiles, shark teeth like those of the huge megalodon, and fossil remains of extinct penguins and other birds including the giant Pelagornis chilensis, one of the largest flying species ever existed throughout the planet’s history.
Brunilda González, the major of Caldera, said “We appreciate the visit of the Minister of Science with his delegation and the participation of the regional council as articulators of this great initiative born some years ago called CIAHN Atacama. For many years, our municipality has been protecting, preserving and developing research on paleontology in Caldera’s territory comprising the entire Bahía Inglesa Formation. As the major of this commune, I’m a member of the Board of directors of this new corporation along with well-known researchers; whose mission is to continue promoting the protection, development and research on paleontology, geology and natural sciences, which allow the promotion of the whole region of Atacama with a distinctive hallmark.”
Finally, Pablo Quilodrán, Executive director of CIAHN Atacama stated: “The patrimony we have here is very important, it’s a world heritage, since it hosts shark teeth that are probably the oldest ones of its kind in the whole planet or dolphin fossils, so these paleontological wealth is not only significant for Atacama or Chile but for the whole world. We have hosted researchers from different countries who are interested in coming to study these vestiges; not only in Caldera and Bahía Inglesa, the entire region is a natural lab”.