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Minister inaugurates life size displays of Baluchitherium

Islamabad, October 24, 2012 (PPI-OT): Federal Minister for Science and Technology (S and T) Mir Changez Khan Jamali inaugurated the life size displays of Baluchitherium (the largest mammal on earth) and Blue Whale here at Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH), Garden Avenue, Shakarparian, on Wednesday.

The Federal Minister, inaugurated these displays at an impressive ceremony organized by PMNH, a subsidiary organization of Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF), Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) to open these entertainment and informative exhibits ahead of Eidul Azha as a gift to its visitors on Eid.

Federal Minister Mir Changez Khan Jamali, COMSTECH Advisor Prof. Dr. Qasim Jan, PSF Chairman Prof. Dr. Manzoor H. Soomro and PMNH Sr. Operational Manager Mr. Akhter Javed addressed the inaugural ceremony, which was attended by a large number of scientists, educationists and students from the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

The Federal Minister for S and T said despite financial constraints the government was making its all out efforts to promote science and technology in the country. He lauded PMNH efforts for research, documentation, conservation, preservation and display of natural history of Pakistan as well as PMNH role in public education. He also appreciated PSF’s role in promotion of science and technology in the country.

Mir Changez Khan Jamali said this new addition in displays of the Museum will be of immense interest for the students and general public. He said Balochistan Province has immense natural resources. He said we have developed a habit to take natural resources far-granted and there is a need to shun this attitude. He called upon people for sustainable use of our natural wealth.

He called upon scientists to take pro-active role in making Pakistan scientifically strong, which is imperative for its socio-economic development of any country. He also made a mention to a Workshop on EU FP7 Programme jointly organized by MoST, PSF and European Union Delegation Pakistan last month. He said the scientists should take maximum benefit from such foreign funding programmes.

COMSTECH Advisor Prof. Dr. Qasim Jan said establishment of PMNH was one of the best things done by the government for promotion of science and technology. Dr. Jan said the Foundation was consistently supporting a large number of research projects.

He said establishment of PMNH is a great achievement of PSF and a gift of government to the people of Pakistan. Dr. Qasim Jan said PMNH was heavily engaged in research and public education as well as awareness activities.

PSF Chairman Prof. Dr. Manzoor H. Soomro in his welcome address highlighted the Foundation’s research funding and science promotion programmes. He said PSF and its subsidiary organizations namely Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH) and Pakistan Scientific and Technological Information Centre (PASTIC) are actively engaged in promotion of science to make Pakistan self-reliant technologically.

He thanked media for its support to PSF in dissemination of information on its programmes and popularization of science in the country. He hoped that in this regard print and electronic media will play a more pro-active role to attract more students towards science education.

Dr. Soomro said the addition of Baluchitherium and Blue Whale Displays at PMNH were an achievement of the PMNH scientists. He said the PMNH is in process of preparing display of Shark Whale specimen that it acquired from Karachi some months ago.

He said the preservation work of the specimen has been completed and efforts are being made to complete the display construction work in shortest possible time so that this unique animal could be exhibited for public viewing.

The Chairman said “Baluchitherium” is the Largest Land Mammal in the world that lived in Balochistan, Pakistan. It is an extinct Rhinoceros that ever lived on the earth about 30 million years ago, he said, adding, it is called Baluchitherium because “Balochi” stands for Balochistan; “thorium” for Beast. It literally means the “Beast of Balochistan” and was named so because it was first discovered in the Bugti Hills (ranging in age from 30 million years to 20 million years ago) Balochistan, he added.

He said the average height of an adult Baluchitherium is estimated to have been 18 ft high at the shoulder, and approximate weight is two ton (2,000 Kilograms).

Dr. Soomro said Fossils of this giant land mammal, Baluchitherium, were first discovered in the Bugti Hills in 1908, and included only a few foot bones. However, the major discovery was made in 2000, when the joint team of paleontologists from University of Montpellier, France and the Pakistan Museum of Natural History, Islamabad found almost complete skeleton of Baluchitherium from Chitarwata Formation, north of Sui in the Bugti Hills after a search of almost three years.

The PSF Chairman said this discovery of largest land mammal has greatly increased the geological significance of our country for research in the field of paleontology and has made Pakistan known to geoscientists and biologists all over the world.

He also spoke on statutory functions of the Museum and contributions to natural history research and biodiversity conservation as well as public education.

He said in line with its functions, PMNH is striving hard for promotion of informal education through different means, mainly the visits of school and college students to the Museum Display Galleries. Additions of new displays are one of PMNH objectives for attraction of visitors and education of public, he added.

PMNH Sr. Operational Manager Mr. Akhter Javed in his address acknowledged the support of Ministry of Science and Technology and PSF in establishment of new displays. He also thanked the chief guest, PSF Chairman, other dignitaries and guests who graced the inaugural ceremony.

At the end of the ceremony, the PSF Chairman presented a model of Baluchitherim to the Federal Minister for Science and Technology.

For more information, contact:
Pakistan Science Foundation
1-Constitution Avenue,
Sector G-5/2, Islamabad
Pakistan
Tel: + 92 51 9202469-70
Fax: + 92 51 9202468

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