|Geological Map of Rio Grande do Sul.|
Paleorrota (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˌpaɫɪ̯oˈʁɔtɐ], also called rota paleológica, literally paleoroute in English), is a geopark located in central Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The rocks and fossils found along the route date back to the times when there was only one supercontinent Pangaea. The BR-287 is the main highway in the area and is called the Highway of Dinosaurs due to fossil localities crossing many municipalities of the region.
The Geopark takes up a vast area underlain by bedrock from the Permian and Triassic (290 to 210 million years ago). It comprises several paleontological sites within the rock formations Santa Maria, Caturrita, Sanga do Cabral, Rio do Rastro and Irati. These sites contain diverse vertebrate fossil assemblages. In the southwestern part of the geopark are found fossils that date back to the Permian, 280 million years ago.
At the end of the Permian, 95% of life on Earth disappeared at the Permian–Triassic extinction. Fossil finds made in the region of Paleorrota have advanced the understanding of these the Triassic evolution of vertebrates. Some important fossils from the park include Staurikosaurus, one of the oldest saurischia species, Sacisaurus, possibly the oldest ornithischian, and Pelycosaurs. This group gave rise to the cynodonts, which in turn led to the mammals. The Geopark's fossils contribute greatly in the understanding of mammalian evolution.
The flag of the Geopark Paleorrota, is the flag of Rio Grande do Sul with white Staurikosaurus in the center. It is a tribute to Brazilian first dinosaur found by Llewellyn Ivor Price, in Santa Maria City.
Paleorrota Group 
Due to the large number of municipalities and institutions involved with Paleorrota, was created in 2010, the Paleorrota Group where people interested in Tourism, Research and Education in Paleorrota, found on electronic mailing list called Paleorrota Group. In group projects and ideas are discussed. There is an exchange of information about what is happening in the region.
|List of species of flora:
In paleobotany there are two areas that stand out in the geopark. North the Caturrita Formation dating from the Triassic, with a forest of petrified trunks of conifers which is located mainly in the cities of Mata, São Pedro do Sul and Santa Maria. South the Rio Bonito Formation, which dates from the Sakmarian, with a varied flora of the Permian Glossopteris and is located mainly in the cities of Mariana Pimentel, Encruzilhada do Sul, Arroio dos Ratos, Pantano Grande, Cachoeira do Sul, Rio Pardo and São Jerônimo.
With the Permian Extinction was a change of Glossopteris flora, which prevailed in the Carboniferous and Permian to Dicroidium flora of Triassic. We can see these two floras with the following genera existing in geopark:          
- Lycophytas: Plants vascularized with reproduction by spores. Genera Brasilodendron and Cyclodendron.
- Pteridospermatophytas: Plants vascularized known as seed ferns with fronds. Were abundant in the Triassic. Genus Dicroidium.
- Pteridophytas: Vascularized seedless plants (ferns) and reproduction by spores. They leaf type fronds. They lived in locals humid and swampy. Were abundant in the Permian. Genera Asterotheca, Botrychiopsis, Neomariopteris, Osmundites Pecopteris and Stephanophyllites.
- Sphenophytas: Vascularized seedless plants (horsetails). Genera Phyllotheca and Sphenopteris.
- Glossopteris: Plants gymnosperms vascularized that reproduce with seeds. Gave the name to Glossopteris flora. It was trees or shrubs with 4–6 metres tall and with tongue-shaped leaves (Greek glosso). Genera Glossopteris and Gangamopteris.
- Cordaites: Plants gymnosperms vascularized that reproduce with seeds. Were similar to conifers with large leaves and ribbed. Generally possessed with heart-shaped seeds. Could have 45 metres tall. Genera Cordaites and Kawizophyllum.
- Ginkgophytas: Plants gymnosperms vascularized that reproduce with seeds. Leaves were similar to current Ginkgos. Genera Chiropteris and Cheirophyllum.
- Conifers: Plants gymnosperms vascularized with reproduction by seeds. Consisting of Pine and Araucaria, which could reach 30 meters tall and two meters in diameter. Genera Buriadia, Cordaicarpus, Coricladus, Kaokoxylon, Samaropsis and Sommerxylon.
In Paleobotany usually the leaves, seeds, trunks, pollen and spores are found separately. So theseeds, pollens and spores receive a separate nomenclature, so that in the future are established links and synonyms between plant parts. Palynology is the division of Paleobotany that contributes to the study of fossils as tiny pollens, spores, fungi and algae. Below is a list of spores, pollens, fungi and algae ever found in Paleorrota:
Genus of spore: Brevitriletes, Calamospora, Cirratriradites, Convolutispora, Cristatisporites, Cyclogranisporites, Granulatisporites, Horriditriletes, Kraeuselisporites, Lundbladispora, Punctatisporites, Reticulatisporites and Vallatisporites.
Genus of pollen grains: Cannanoropolis, Cycadopites, Divarisaccus, Illinites, Limitisporites, Peppersites, Protohaploxypinus, Striomonosaccites, Vesicaspora and Vittatina.
Scale in millions of years.
The research began with fossils in Santa Maria with the geographer and professor Antero de Almeida, in 1901, when the first fossils found in the Sanga da Alemoa. Antero de Almeida, also found the Paleontological Site Chiniquá, later visited by German paleontologist Friedrich von Huene.
In 1902, Dr. Jango Fischer, born in Santa Maria, collected fossils in the Sanga da Alemoa and sent to Prof. Dr. Hermann von Ihering, then director of the Museu Paulista in São Paulo. Three vertebral bodies were nearly complete, a fragment of a vertebra, one finger and four phalanges and ungual phalanx alone. The material was sent to Arthur Smith Woodward, the eminent paleontologist of the British Museum in London to study, which resulted in the determination of the first terrestrial reptile fossil in South America, the Rhynchosaur was given the name Scaphonyx fischeri, in honor of Jango Fischer.
So the international scientific attention has focused on Santa Maria, leading to a series of scientific expeditions.
In the years 1915 to 1917, Dr. Guilherme Rau, a German who now reside in Santa Maria in 1900, helped the German scientist Dr. H. Lotz of the Geological Survey of Berlin, and collected 200 fossils in the Sanga da Alemoa. This material was sent to Von Huene in Germany in 1924. During this time a boy of 14 years, Atílio Munari, who lived near the Sanga da Alemoa, began to live with the scientist H. Lotz, who taught him to collect and prepare the fossils. Many of the fossils collected by him, are now in Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre and Santa Maria.
Llewellyn Ivor Price, was born in Santa Maria, and completed his studies at Harvard University, USA. He returned to Santa Maria in 1936, bringing along his colleague Theodore E. White. Both contacted Munari that helped them in their excavations of fossils.
In 1925, Santa Maria and São Pedro do Sul, were visited by the German paleontologist Dr. Bruno von Freyberg, University of Halle-Wittenberg. That same year Dr. G. Florence and Pacheco, members of the Commission geological and geographical, of São Paulo were in Paleorrota. Everything that happened this season influenced Vicentino Prestes de Almeida, born Chiniquá (1900), to become a paleontologist. A jaw discovered by him, and sent to Germany, it influenced Von Huene to make a visit to Brazil. Prestosuchus is named after a Vicentino Prestes de Almeida.
In 1928 comes the German Friedrich von Huene, accompanied by Dr. Rudolf Stahlecker. They were six months collecting in the Sanga da Alemoa and then stayed two months in Chiniquá. In the ten-month period they made several stratigraphic observations of many municipalities. They returned to Germany with many tons of fossils. Many fossils collected by Friedrich von Huene are at the University of Tübingen, Germany.
In the 1940s and 50’s various expeditions organized by Llewellyn Ivor Price, of the Department of Palaeontology of the National Department of Mineral Production in Rio de Janeiro, arriving in the region. Price has worked in the area along with Edwin Harris Colbert, Carlos de Paula Couto, Mackenzie Gondon, Fausto Luís de Souza Cunha and Theodore E. White. In Santa Maria, Price was staying at Colégio Centenário.
In 1947, Ney Vidal and Carlos de Paula Couto, working at the National Museum of Brazil, were collecting fossils in the region. In 1955 prof. Irajá Damiani Pinto (UFRGS), made collections of fossils in Paleorrota.
From the year 1956 Father Daniel Cargnin, which has enriched many museums, such as Museum Vincente Pallotti, Museum Daniel Cargnin, UFRGS and PUCRS. He worked with Mário Costa Barberena (UFRGS) and he collected more than 50 skulls. He was a paleontologist, who collected about 80% of the fossils that are in museums in the region.
From the 1960s, with the creation of the School of Geology (UFRGS), and subsequently their postgraduate courses, the geological mapping of Paleorrota received large increase, as well as paleontological knowledge of sedimentary rocks found there.
In the 70 and 80, in São Pedro do Sul, Walter Ilha, a paleontologist has collected fossils in the region. Collected bibliographies, books and magazines on the subject. He fought to build a museum in his hometown. In 1987 he died, and the museum acquired the name of Museum Paleontologic and Archaeological Walter Ilha.
In Paleorrota, paleontology began with amateur paleontologists. Later we had the arrival of several foreign paleontologists, who contributed with their research and teaching of paleontology drove in our universities and schools. Throughout this period the research of the amateurs were usually made with their own financial resources.
Research and Teaching 
In the early 1960s, started the first university courses in geology in Brazil, due to the incentive to search for oil. Among the first universities were UFRGS, which began with the direction of prof. Irajá Damiani Pinto. The teaching of paleontology occurs today at UFRGS, UFSM, PUCRS and UNISINOS. Currently UFRGS produces replicas of fossils that are sold or exchanged with other research institutions, museums and businesses.
It has also intensified the Paleontological Tourism in the region, and the UNIFRA has prepared for tourism professionals.
In October 2009, began free distribution of one thousand copies of the book Vertebrados Fósseis de Santa Maria e Região (Vertebrate Fossils of Santa Maria and surrounding regions in English). The book will be delivered to institutions, schools and libraries in Santa Maria, in order to spread the teaching of this subject in the region. The book was published by the council of the city.
It is available in the Book Paleorrota of Wikibooks, with the main pages linked to the Paleorrota.
|Museums of Paleorrota.|
The great discoveries made were not sufficient to mobilize the authorities in the use of the region for tourism Paleontology. More than 25% of the area of Rio Grande do Sul is in the Geopark, with more than 30 municipalities involved and 8% of population of region.
Currently less than 10 thousand tourists a year visit the Geopark. If each gaucho visit to the region once in a lifetime, we would have 150 thousnad tourists annually. This shows that tourism is being under utilized and compared with the 3 million who visit each year Gramado and Canela, the numbers are mediocre. If we compare what each tourist spends during a trip, we noticed a huge loss of hundreds of millions with the loss of tax revenue and job creation in the region.
Failure to engage the authorities to activate the Paleontological Tourism. You need the investment of public money on projects. The Project Dinosaur Highway ensure the movement of tourists and the return on this investment would be through taxes.
How to visit the local 
The tourist who arrives in Porto Alegre have several options for visits to museums in the city. A visit to the Porto Alegre Botanical Garden, also visits the Museum of Natural Sciences Foundation Zoo Botanical Rio Grande do Sul, which is inside and has an exhibition of fossils. Two kilometers away is the Museum of Science and Technology (PUCRS), which has several specimens of fossils, plus an exhibition of science and technology. Seven kilometers of PUCRS, we arrived at the campus of UFRGS, where is located the Museum of Paleontology Irajá Damiani Pinto next to the building and has a Geosciences Laboratory of Paleontology.
The Museum of Geological History of Rio Grande do Sul is located in the city of São Leopoldo, in the UNISINOS and is thirty kilometers from Porto Alegre. UNISINOS has emerged in surveys of Paleobotany.
To know Paleorrota, starting the trip in Porto Alegre, should go through the BR-287 toward Santa Maria, which is 300 kilometers away. Following the path we passed the town of Venâncio Aires, which is the start of the area with fossils. In Candelária town, we visit the Museum Aristides Carlos Rodrigues.
Arriving in Santa Maria, you can visit the campus of UFSM, the Museum Vincente Pallotti and the Educational Museum Gama D'Eça. In Santa Maria, was where the history of paleontology of Paleorrota began. The city itself is under a large deposit of fossils. The city has many hotels, shoppings and restaurants.
Over 40 kilometers of travel, and arrive to São Pedro do Sul, where is the Museum Paleontologic and Archaeological Walter Ilha. More than 40 kilometers and we reached the town of Mata, where the museum is the Museum Daniel Cargnin. Here there are a lot of petrified wood that are found throughout the city. In Mata end our trip.
Paleorrota Day 
On 21 and 22 May 2011, was held the first Paleorrota Day, where the museums of palaeontology at Porto Alegre, Candelária, Santa Maria, São Pedro do Sul and Mata, opened their doors to visits from tourists. The Paleorrota Day should occur every year in May during the week's national museum. Earlier this week, on May 17 is the anniversary of Santa Maria city.
Cities and Municipalities 
- Western Center Riograndense, the main Mesoregion of geopark, covered by the BR-287.
- Eastern Center Riograndense, traveled by the BR-287.
- Southwest Rio-Grandense this Mesoregion contain areas of the Permian.
- Metropolitan Porto Alegre, a small portion west belongs to the geopark and is traversed by the BR-287.
- Southeast Riograndense, part of the Mesoregion located to the west is the geopark.
Although almost a hundred municipalities involved in geopark, the Brazilian government and the government of Rio Grande do Sul, which are responsible for constitutional fossil, has done very little for paleontological tourism.
The demand of tourists is low due to lack of investment from the Secretariat of Tourism of Rio Grande do Sul, and the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism, generating a low income with the movement of tourists who ends up not generate resources to invest in research and education in paleontology. That does not make it economically sustainable paleontology.
Institutions such as the Federation of Associations of Municipalities of Rio Grande do Sul and the Legislative Assembly of Rio Grande do Sul, do not work on these projects for municipalities unite around this goal.
Projects such as the Highway of Dinosaurs and Paleorrota Institute, aim to make the geopark sustainable.
UNESCO Geopark 
In the 80s the town of Mata, supported by São Pedro do Sul and Santa Maria, asked the UNESCO that the region was classified as a World Heritage Site. At this time, UNESCO did not have a solution to the global geological heritage.
- Make an inquiry broad in all more than 30 municipalities involved.
- Joining the private and government municipalities, State and Union
- Create an economically sustainable model, using the Tourism, Research and Education in Paleontology.
- Tourism should be a source of revenue to cover the cost of Research and Education.
- Help preserve the fossil heritage for future generations.
The Paleorrota Group gathers people of central Rio Grande do Sul, through an electronic mailing list on the internet. Lack involvement of public institutions such as the Secretariat of Tourism of Rio Grande do Sul, Federation of Associations of Municipalities of Rio Grande do Sul and Company Mineral Resources Research. You need the involvement of state legislators and the Legislative Assembly of Rio Grande do Sul to legislate on the subject. All this makes the existing projects to progress slowly.
Currently the demand of tourists is very low, but with potential to grow. The demand is not growing due to lack of investment in tourist attractions that can only be realized with the joint efforts of private and public power. For the geopark become economically sustainable, it is necessary that the current demand of 10 thousand tourists a year rise to 150 thousand tourists annually, to go beyond the break-even. If each gaucho visited the region once in a lifetime, this point would be reached, it shows that there is much room to grow economically.
CAPPA - Support Center for Paleontological Research 
The facility will occupy 2.649 m² and its construction is divided into three stages with the first was completed in early 2009. Also at this time began to define the goals and purposes intitucionais.
Fossils of the region 
In the area north of the geopark, dating from the Triassic and in the past consisted of rivers and lakes with oxygen and carbonate (alkaline) which facilitated the preservation of bones, but deteriorated easily the weakest parts of the plant and animal tissues. Only tree trunks with Permineralization survived into the rivers of Santa Maria Formation and Caturrita Formation.
Already the south is the area dating from the Permian, with the Rio do Rastro Formation and Rio Bonito Formation. Were composed of mangroves and swamps with acidic and anoxic waters that facilitated the preservation of fragile tissues such as leaves, seeds, pollens and spores. But easily destroyed bone.
The vertebrate fossils are found in reddish soil-like bedrock. Depending on the process of fossilization, they will have certain characteristics:
- Without Calcium carbonate the fossils will take on a white color and are easily dissolved in water.
- With Calcium carbonate the fossils will show the color of brown rust, and have the form of concrete because of the calcium carbonate. When a fossil has the ideal amount of carbonate, the fossil is undeformed, and does not dissolve in water. But excess of carbonate will deform the fossil, giving it a swollen appearance. If there is a very large quantity of carbonate, the fossil takes on a dusty outer surface which dissolves in water.
Another important feature is caused by slow creep. During the millions of years that the fossils have been embedded in the ground the slow creeping movement of the ground has created ripples in the fossils and given them a wavy appearance.
Most of the bedrock in the region is covered by soil. Only one percent of the bedrock is exposed in creeks, streams, lakes and roads.
Geological formations and biozone 
Scale in millions of years.
The region has many formations such as Santa Maria Formation, Caturrita Formation, Sanga do Cabral Formation, Rio do Rastro Formation, Irati Formation and the Rio Bonito Formation. These are the main formations with the principles kinds of animals found in them:
- Wood: This biozone is characterized by the presence of a lot of petrified wood.
- Mammals: This biozone is where they begin to appear modern mammals (Procolophon, Temnospondyli, dicynodonts, cynodonts and archosaurs).
- Rhynchosauria: biozone with a predominance of Rhynchosaurs (Rhynchosaurs, archosaurs and Cynodonts).
- Traversodontidae: biozone with traversodonts cynodonts (cynodonts and archosaurs).
- Therapsids: Prevalence of Dinodontosaurus and Massetognathus. (Procolophon, dicynodonts, cynodonts, archosaurs and Rhynchosaurs)
- Procolophon: Predominant Procolophon. Much material is fragmented and often difficult to classify. (Temnospondyli, Procolophon, non-mammalian Cynodonts indeterminate and Prolacertiformes indeterminate).
- Pareiasaurus: biozone of Pareiasaurus.
- Mesosaurus: biozone of Mesosaurus.
- Plants: Prevalence plants Glossopteris, Cordaites, Gangamopteris and Brasilodendron.
Since the 1940s, federal legislation has protected the fossils as property of the Union. In 2001, state legislation was passed to protect the fossils of Paleorrota. In general, it states:
- The fossils are a cultural heritage of the state.
- The fossils can only be collected by paleontologists or technicians who are working for officially recognized institutions.
- Foreign institutions are only to support an institution's research endeavour.
- A visit to Paleontological Sites can only be performed in the company of someone authorized.
- Transport of fossils can only be done under authorization with a return guarantee.
- The only economic activities to be carried out are tours with authorized guides.
The complete legislation is found with the Brazilian Society of Paleontology.
Videos about Paleorrota 
Notes and references 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Paleorrota|
- Petrified trees and the forest region.
- Paleorrota Group.
- Blog of Paleorrota Group.
- Afloramento Morro do Papaléo, Mariana Pimentel, RS
- Afloramento fossilífero do Grupo Itararé: Fazenda Goulart, Francisquinho, município de São Jerônimo, RS
- The Botrychiopsis genus and its biostratigraphic implications in Southern Paraná Basin
- PALINOLOGIA DO MORRO DO PAPALÉO, MARIANA PIMENTEL
- Uma nova espécie de Phyllotheca Brongniart
- SEMENTES DO GÊNERO SAMAROPSIS GOEPPERT
- NOVA ESPÉCIE DE SPHENOPHYTA NO EOPERMIANO DO RIO GRANDE DO SUL
- THE GENUS CORDAICARPUS GEINITZ IN THE LOWER PERMIAN OF THE PARANÁ BASIN, RIO GRANDE DO SUL, BRAZIL
- VARIATION IN STOMATAL NUMBERS OF GLOSSOPTERIS LEAVES FROM THE LOWER PERMIAN OF PARANÁ BASIN, BRAZIL
- Coricladus quiteriensis gen. et sp. nov., a new conifer in Southern-Brazil Gondwana (Lower Permian, Paraná Basin)
- Réplicas de Paleovertebrados.
- Vertebrate Fossils of Santa Maria and surrounding regions.
- Diário de Santa Maria.
- V Brazilian Symposium of the Vertebrate
- (UK Daily Mail) "World's most complete fossil of pre-dinosaur predator discovered"
- Cynodont in Santa Cruz do Sul
- Manual de Geoparques UNESCO (Português)
- Turismo Paleontologico no Rio Grande do Sul
- Projeto Geoparque Paleorrota
- Projeto Instituto Paleorrota
- Projeto Rodovia dos Dinossauros - Postos Temáticos
- Projeto Rodovia dos Dinossauros - Pedágios
- CAPPA - Centro de Apoio a Pesquisa Paleontológica, picture and location.
- São João do Polêsine, in Portuguese.
- Tetrápodes Triássicos do Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil.
- Brazilian Society of Paleontology.
See also 
- Molds of the animals found in the region.
- Blog of the Paleorrota Group (portuguese)
- See here the area of paleorrota
- Dinosaurs of Rio grande do Sul.
- Anfíbios Fósseis do Tríassico do Rio Grande do Sul
- Banco de Dados de Sítios Paleontológicos.
- Tetrápodes Triássicos do Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil.
- Mapa Geológico de Agudo
- Sítio uma nova Assembleia Fossilifera do Triássico Médio do sul do Brasil.
- Sítio Linha Várzea - uma nova Assembleia Fossilifera do Triássico Meodo do sul do Brasil.
- Paleontological Tourism at Santa Maria City, Southern Brazil.
- Técnica de Coleta de Fósseis em pelitos laminados.
- Sitios Paleobotânicos do arenito Mata e São Pedro, RS.
- Revisão Osteológica de Massetognathus Pascuali
- A Procolophonoid reptile with temporal fenestration from the Middle Triassic of Brazil.
- Problems in Western Gondwana Geology.
- Diagenetic Pattern of Vertebrate fossils from the traversodontidae Biozone, Santa Maria Formation.
- The Continental Tetrapod-bearing Triassic of South Brazil.
- Early Triassic Postcranial Temnospondyl Remains from Southern Brazil.
- Brasilodon and Brasilitherium, Late Triassic of southern Brazil
- Heterochrony in a fossil Reptile: Rhynchosaur scaphonyx (Late Triassic), Brazil.
- Pareiasaurids from Rio do Rastro Formation (Permian, Brazil)
- Folha: Grupo acha fóssil de superpredador gaúcho com 220 milhões de anos