Teresa Manera de BiancoFootprints to the past
Prehistoric animal tracks at Pehuen Có in Argentina are threatened by rising sea levels and human destruction but the pioneering efforts of palaeontologist Teresa Manera de Bianco are helping to preserve them.
Teresa Manera de Bianco is saving and protecting a unique collection of animal footprints made 12,000 years ago. Today, the 3 km-long site at Pehuen Có is part of Argentina’s Atlantic coastline near her home, but millennia ago it was an inland pond teeming with birds and mammals. Covered for thousands of years by sediment, the site is threatened by rising sea levels and the damaging effects of thousands of tourists. Manera de Bianco has made about 400 footprint casts of 22 species of mammals and birds and put them on display at a local museum. She has also persuaded the Argentinean authorities to declare the site a geological and palaeontological reserve, protecting it from vehicles driven by tourists.
As we analyse what we've discovered, we ask what happened to these big animals not so long ago. If we can understand what happened to them, perhaps we can prevent some changes that could affect our future.
Her current focus is to have the area designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the past decade she and her team have written numerous papers and abstracts covering archaeology, palaeontology, geology and natural heritage protection. In the future, Manera de Bianco will continue her education and outreach programmes, and promote sustainable tourism.
90 x 40 cm
Dimensions of the site's biggest print
Species of animals that left footprints at Pehuen Có, including mastodons, camelids, flamingos and ducks