Fossils unearthed in Masungi georeserve possibly ‘first, oldest’ of its kind in PH – experts

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 29) – Fossilized gastropods unearthed in the limestones of the Masungi Georeserve could be the first and oldest of its kind in the Philippines, according to paleontologists from the University of the Philippines - National Institute of Geological Sciences (UP-NIGS).

Gastropods are a class of mollusks which include snails, slugs, and limpets, and the presence of these indicate that Masungi was submerged underwater about 60 million years ago.

UP-NIGS Paleontologists Allan Fernando, Alyssa Peleo-Alampay, Leopoldo de Silva, Jr., and Joaquin Lacson made the discovery, the Masungi Georeserve Foundation’s statement said.

The research team is expected to conduct a follow-up investigation sometime this year to determine the exact age of the fossils and verify if these are the first and oldest fossils of this type of mollusk in the country.

Masungi Georeserve added that a Japanese malacologist – an expert on mollusks – who has conducted extensive research on fossils in the Philippines recognized the significance of the Filipinos’ findings. It did not name the researcher.

It also shared that in July this year, the research team found traces and fossilized remains of marine protists or foraminifera embedded in rocks at the reserve.

Meanwhile, the researchers also said the discovery underscored the importance of protecting and conserving the Masungi Georeserve, an “important, fragile and non-renewable resource.”

“We envision Masungi Georeserve as a place where educators, students, and local government can interact and collaborate in the study of karst features and processes and development of best practices in the management and conservation of karst landforms,” they said.

This comes amid encroachments, illegal structures, quarrying, and incompatible land uses which threaten the 300-hectare Philippine conservation area.


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