Coal and dinosaurs

From January, 20 2010 to February, 28 2010

An exhibition recounting dinosaur species and the formation of coal in Berguedà

The mining operations at the Fumanya opencast mines served to uncover remains of dinosaurs in the subsoil, and their footprints have provided a valuable source of information for palaeontologists. This exhibition, which has travelled around various sites in Catalonia, shows us the remarkable relationship that exists between coal and dinosaurs in the context of the Alt Berguedà district, and more specifically in Fumanya, which is both a coal mine and one of the most important palaeontological sites in Europe. In Fumanya as many as 3,500 footprints of these extinct animals that lived 65 million years ago have so far been counted. The explanation for these findings and their connection with coal mining provide the central strands of the exhibition "Coal and Dinosaurs".

The exhibits on display represent a substantial collection of fossils and various mining tools, contextualised by means of spectacular drawings of titanosaurs (dinosaurs  that were found in the region), as well as nests containing eggs, and also bones. A range of audiovisual presentations about the history of the mines, the Fumanya site and the discovery of these treasures round off the exhibition.

The displays discuss Berguedà as a coal district that, because of the intense mining activity there, was one of the most important regions in Catalonia. It recounts the results of palaeontological research conducted at the Fumanya site and explains the discovery of dinosaurs in the region. The fact that dinosaur footprints have been found on the vertical wall of Fumanya is explained by the fact that the animals left their prints behind when walking over swampy ground, sediment which later, when the Pyrenees were formed, was lifted up to be left in a vertical position. Using the footprints, palaeontologists have been able to determine what these herbivorous animals were like, measuring some 15-20 m in height, with shorter front legs than in the rear, and with a very long tail.

The Fumanya site containing the dinosaur footprints was declared an Asset of Natural Cultural Interest in 2005, and has applied to be recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The exhibition has been organised by the Mining Trail Consortium, which promotes the mining trail for economic and tourism activity comprising the Cercs Mining Museum (which belongs to the mNACTEC Territorial Network), the Fumanya centre, a new technology training centre, a natural activities centre and other projects.