Have you ever heard of Mary Anning? She is the world’s first woman paleontologist. She used to live in Europe. One day, she saw a strange shape sticking out of a rock. She took her special hammer started chipping away the rock, only to uncover a 30- foot-long skeleton! It had flippers, a beak and sharp teeth and it resembled a dinosaur. It was a dinosaur’s skeleton. She named it ichthyosaur, meaning fish-lizard. At her times, the 1800’s, people believed that earth was only a few thousand years old. But Mary’s fossils proved them wrong. Scientists from all over the world came to see her!
Palaeontology is the study of ancient life, dinosaurs to plants, mammals, fish, insects, fungi and this is the passion for Aswatha Biju.
fourteen-year-old Aswatha Biju is the youngest paleontologist in India and she has collected about 134 fossils, which is one-third the collection of fossils in India!
Her journey first started when she was amazed by an ammonite fossil and went to the Egmore Government Museum to research the fossils. At the age of ten, Aswatha was introduced to the field of Palaeontology. She conducted seminars and collected twenty- four fossils at the age of eleven.
She has worked on three different sites in India, Ariyalur and Gunduperumbedu in Tamil Nadu and Sironcha in Maharashtra
Paleontology is a growingly less popular learning field and Aswatha creates awareness about paleontology to schools, colleges, research institutes not only to India but globally.
She has received several awards and with so much passion for paleontology, she may just be India’s young Mary Anning!
Interviewed by: Hasini Lakshminarayanan
Written by: Vaimitra Chandrasehar
Editor: Akshath Jaganmohan