Thousands of pre-dinosaur fossils are scattered in the rocks of the Guryul ravine, rated by geologists as the world’s premier site for the study of species from the Permian period (299-251 million years before our time).
These species, felled by the greatest mass extinction ever, are being wiped out a second time.
The most fossil-rich stretch, a little over one square kilometre, houses five quarries, two of them operating now. A large part of the extractions is supplied to cement factory owners at nearby Khunmoh.
Not only is this apparently one of the more complete stratigraphic sections across the Permian-Triassic boundary, but it’s location in Kashmir means that it hasn’t actually been studied particularly well. And they’re turning it into cement. Cement! Words actually fail me. Polite ones, anyway.