Edge of extinction

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Science  06 Apr 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6384, pp. 22-25
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6384.22

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India's complex geologic history has endowed it with rich and diverse fossils, from early plants through dinosaurs to human ancestors. But the country's paleontologists say their field is in trouble. With few legal protections, sites often fall victim to looting and development. And although funds are scarce for all science in India, the plight of paleontology is particularly acute. Little money is available for excavations and for acquiring and curating specimens, and the country lacks a national institution in which its natural heritage can be studied and preserved. Cash-strapped universities are curtailing or axing paleontology courses, and young people are shunning the field.

  • * Sanjay Kumar is a science journalist in New Delhi.