Peru moving to protect fossils from car race

AP News

1/3/2013 5:08:40 PM - AP News

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Peru's Culture Ministry says the government is taking steps to protect one of the world's largest fossil deposits from being damaged by this year's Dakar Rally.

It's the second year that the long-distance race involving hundreds of cars and motorbikes has included Peru. The race begins Saturday and will cross into Chile and Argentina before ending Jan. 20.

Klaus Honninger is director of the private Meyer-Honninger Paleontological Museum in Peru. He calls the race an "enormous danger" for the Ocucaje fossil zone in Peru's Ica region, which is home to fossils of whales, dolphins, penguins and other animals.

Honninger says spectators at last year's rally dumped tons of trash in the desert and some people reportedly used whale fossil vertebrae as benches. Some autos crushed fossils in their path.