Geodiversity and Geosites

All 7 Geosites comprise geodiversity elements containing scientific, educational, historical, and cultural values that overlap the average. The Caieira and Serra da Galga geosites constitute International Geological Heritage. The Ponte Alta, Peirópolis, Santa Rita, Univerdecidade, and Vale Encantado geosites are classified as Local and Regional relevance. The Peirópolis Geosite is a special case that deserves better reflection for bringing high scientific, educational, historical, and cultural values and attractiveness, allowing effective society's approach to Paleontological Heritage. This reality has been promoting the sustainable socio-economic and environmental development of an entire community through geotourism. Its insertion as a local and regional relevance geosite reflects the fragility and exposes in an evident way the validity of the currently adopted methodological criteria to measure the relevance and quantification of Geological Heritage. This fact shows the complexity and efficiency in generating these models created and adopted for geoparks on various continents.

Therefore, the adequate management of biodiversity allied to the rational potentialization of the natural environment where geodiversity is inserted through landscapes, rocks, minerals, and fossils, can be the key to future generations. Bringing them together in unique areas, where these attributes of geological heritage have scientific, educational, cultural, and touristic values that overlap the average, configuring sustainable projects, could ensure longevity to the planet and mankind.

The responsibility for preserving this heritage led to the need for its conservation. In this sense, geoconservation is conceptually the term attributed to initiatives to maintain the values of Geological Heritage, which comprises geodiversity elements with scientific, educational, cultural, touristic, or other values that overlap the average. A geopark is not a conservation unit or a new category of protected area, however, the absence of its legal framework is the reason for its worldwide success.

Geodiversity, within the perception of the Royal Society for Nature Conservation, consists of the “variety of geological environments, phenomena, and active processes that give rise to landscapes, rocks, minerals, fossils, soils, and other surface deposits that are the support for life on Earth” (Brilha, 2005).

Geosites of the Project

Geossítio Peirópolis

Location: Peirópolis neighborhood,
Municipality of Uberaba
Altitude: 836 m
Geographic Coordinates: 19°44'44.12"S - 47°44'32.08"W
Type of Paleontological Interest with Scientific, Pedagogical, Touristic and Cultural Significance
Relevance: Local/Regional..

The name Peirópolis comes from Frederico Peiró, a Spanish immigrant with an entrepreneurial spirit who arrived in the area in 1886. He was primarily responsible for the development of that community, working in agribusiness, limestone mining, lime production, and local commerce. He passed away in 1915. In 1924, the Paineiras station was renamed Peirópolis in his honor. Located on the BR 262 highway, it is situated 25 km from the center of Uberaba. It is easily accessible from the highway via an asphalt road that leads to the main entrance of the village, where about 300 people live. Historically, it represents the headquarters of paleontology in Uberaba/Triângulo Mineiro, whose scientific importance was revealed through the work of Llewellyn Price, a pioneer in the region. This geosite is attributed to the largest occurrence of dinosaur eggs in the country, as well as the first vertebrate fossils collected in the Uberaba Formation. It consists of three elongated eggs recovered by chance in 1967 during the manual excavation of a water well by Llewellyn Price's field assistant, Mr. Langerton Neves da Cunha, in his backyard, located about 150 m from the Dinosaur Museum.

Initially described by Campos & Bertini (1985) as belonging to ceratopsid dinosaurs, in association with the morphology of hundreds of eggs from the Gobi Desert region of Mongolia. Later, more detailed studies were conducted by Kellner et al. (1998), correlating them to theropod dinosaurs. These specimens are now deposited in the DNPM repository - Museum of Earth Sciences in Rio de Janeiro. Given the importance of the activities developed by CPPLIP and MD in this location since 1991, it is pertinent to extend the area of the Peirópolis Geosite to the entire urban network of the neighborhood, which includes the CCCP/UFTM, geotourism-related ventures, and the residents' village. The architectural ensemble's highlight is the old English-style train station built-in 1889. During the period from 1960 to 1980, with the deactivation of the mining cycle for the production and export of lime, as well as activities related to livestock and agriculture and especially with the dismantling of the railway line, Peirópolis was left abandoned without prospects for the few residents who remained. The train station, which until then was the guiding thread of local development, fell into total decay, becoming completely ruined. From 1991, the station was restored. With successive revitalizations, its architecture remains refreshed.
Thanks to the initiatives of the municipality of Uberaba in 1991, the Peirópolis station was fully restored to host the L.I. Price Paleontological Center and Dinosaur Museum, where a plurality of actions in the areas of research, educational projects, popularization of science, protection of fossils and paleontological sites, have made the small locality a center of excellence in vertebrate paleontology in Brazil. A pleasant location of great interest due to the fascination that dinosaurs exert on people, Peirópolis is today one of the main tourist destinations in Uberaba. The increase in the number of visitors motivated the implementation of enterprises that, together, support infrastructure to meet the growing demand for visitation.
In 2012, the Tourist House began operating, positioned in a strategic location facing the Dinosaur Museum, and is linked to the Municipal Government. Its objective is to be the center for tourist information and currently part of its internal area is occupied for the trade of crafts, a diversity of homemade products, and the famous sweets from Peirópolis.
This space replaced the Casa de Doces de Peirópolis which from 1992 to 2013 occupied one of the buildings of the Price Center. The sale of these products is of fundamental importance for the economy and formation of the income of the local community that lives from the exploitation of geotourism. It composes essential values in the context of the actions and attributions of a geopark, which foresees the active participation of the communities directly impacted in the various stages of consolidation of the process of sustainable socio-environmental development.
Undoubtedly, this geosite is the most important among the 7 proposed, as it concentrates diverse activities that alone characterize the actions and concepts attributed to a geopark.

Geosite Ponte Alta

Location: “Cachoeirão do Ponte Alta” in Ponte Alta, Uberaba municipality.
Altitude: 802 m Geographic coordinates: 19°43'43.92"S - 47°38'23.13"W
Stratigraphic and Magmatic Type of Touristic and Pedagogical Interest
Relevance: Local - Regional.

Your access has recently been facilitated thanks to the construction of an asphalted highway that allows visitors to safely and quickly reach the location. It is located on private property; however, historically, it has been used as a leisure and entertainment spot, as well as for practicing extreme sports. It is a spectacular location due to its scenic beauty, with a large 30-meter waterfall and a fragment of the Atlantic Forest that is well-preserved. Environmental education programs use this space as a dynamic and lively classroom for various focuses. From a geological and pedological standpoint, it is unique because it allows for didactic comprehension of the geological units that compose the substrate of the Bauru Basin (Lower Cretaceous).
In just 3 meters of outcrop, three types of rocks can be observed: sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous. Its section tells the geological story of the moment when an aeolian dune from the then “Botucatu desert” was covered by two superimposed basalt flows from the Serra Geral Formation, a tectonic event that portrays the fragmentation of the Gondwana supercontinent, with the consequent separation of South America and Africa. The flows attributed to the Serra Geral Formation are quite representative, both economically through the exploitation of widely used crushed stone in civil construction in the southeastern, southern, and central regions of Brazil, as well as a significant aquifer that has increasingly been used in small and medium-sized projects, as well as for domestic water supply. Another relevance of this geological unit is that it comprises one of the largest continental volcanic events in the entire geological history of the Earth. Its dimensions exceed the limits of South America, given its broad association with volcanic rocks from Africa, sharing temporality, tectonic and geological evolution of these large areas, unprecedented in the Mesozoic Era. On top of the waterfall, ferruginous laterites cap the second basalt flow, popularly known as “tapiocangas,” a rock widely used in buildings since the late 19th century and occasional medium-grade iron ore formed by supergene processes.

Caieira Geosite

Location: Peirópolis,
Municipality of Uberaba
Altitude: 900 m Geographic Coordinates: 19°43'26.89"S - 47°44'47.45"W
Paleontological type, sedimentology of scientific, educational, touristic, and cultural interest. Relevance: International.

It has as its main point the history and development of paleontology research and education in Uberaba. Its stratigraphic context represents the contact between the Ponte Alta and Serra da Galga members of the Marília Formation.
In historical terms, the lime kiln, managed by the family of Frederico Peiró, was responsible for attracting the attention of paleontologist Llewellyn Ivor Price, becoming the inaugural point of systematic paleontological excavations in Peirópolis in 1946, thus known as Point 1 of Price.
Of all the described geosites, it is the locality that has the greatest diversity of taxa. It also has outstanding value thanks to its didactic geological context. It has become notable in national and international paleontology for being one of the most relevant sites of occurrences of continental Cretaceous vertebrates in Brazil. To this locality are attributed 8 new species represented by the titanosaurs Trigonosaurus Pricei, Baurutitan britoi, the crocodyliforms Uberabasuchus terrificus, Peirosaurus tormini and Itasuchus jesuinoi, the podocnemids Peiropemys mezzalirai and Pricemys caiera and the anura Uberabatrachus carvalhoi. Various specimens attributed to indeterminate titanosaurs were also extracted from this locality, as well as the first species attributed to a titanosaur.
In addition to its great scientific relevance, the geosite has a strong educational and tourist character, as thousands of students and enthusiasts pass through it. It should receive special attention as an invaluable geological heritage of international relevance. It is proposed that the entire physical space be turned into a museum and supported by infrastructure and signage compatible with the large flow of tourists, enabling the increase in research programs, heritage education, awareness for geoconservation, and consequent enhancement of paleontological tourism.

Geosite Serra da Galga

km 153 of BR-050, north of Uberaba.
Location: km 153 da BR-050, ao norte de Uberaba
Altitude: 840 m
Geographic coordinates: 19°35'32.39"S - 48° 1'42.80"W
Type of Paleontological and Sedimentological interest for scientific and educational purposes.
Relevance: International.

Just like at the Caieira geosite, this geosite offers a broad view of the landscape with a differentiated scenic beauty. Geologically, it represents the type section of the Serra da Galga Member of the Marília Formation, where the contact with the basal unit can be observed, represented by an outcrop of partially silicified carbonates (calcretes and silcretes) of the Ponte Alta Member. It provides a didactic understanding of the last moments of deposition in the Upper Cretaceous of the Bauru Basin.

It contains a large quantity of fossiliferous sedimentary rocks, which at all times have revealed new paleontological findings. Among the various excavation sites in the municipality, this may be one of the only ones to allow systematic collection throughout the year, as the drainage system for slope containment allows for rapid water runoff. Its access is of easy difficulty. The outcrop is part of the highway cut and can be reached through cement-paved channels used for rainwater drainage. It is located less than 1 km from the Federal Highway Police station and 700 m from a gas station and restaurant, which offers quick logistics for food and toilets. This aspect provides unique educational and tourist projects full-time throughout the year. This moment allows visitors to experience firsthand a paleontological excavation in full activity, which is in fact a very important differential in promoting and popularizing the science of fossils and consolidating geotourism. There is a strong demand from the public for this type of activity, as the country presents very few projects that allow this interaction between society and the natural physical environment.

The Serra da Galga geosite became famous for the discovery of the Uberabatitan ribeiroi fossil, the largest Brazilian dinosaur and one of the last titanosaurs on the planet, as well as being one of the most representative paleontological sites described in SIGEP No. 28. It has historical importance, as the first fossil findings in Uberaba in 1945 came from this region. Among the discoveries that are most attention-grabbing is the first dinosaur egg in South America. It has a diversified paleobiota cited in a large number of scientific publications.

Geossite Univerdecidade

Location: Univerdecidade, Uberaba, MG.
Altitude: 743 m
Coordenadas Geográficas: 19°43'17.70"S - 47°57'30.59"W
Stratigraphic type, magmatism, and weathering of scientific, educational, and touristic interest.
Relevance: Local and Regional.

The Univerdecidade geosite is located near the banks of the Uberaba River, to the north of the city, in an area structured by the municipality to accommodate a technological, educational, and tourist park. It is strategically positioned in an area of flat and elevated topography, with Uberaba in the background. It comprises one of the main entrances to the north access of the city. In the vicinity, there is the Center for Environmental Education and Tourism Reception, which is now starting its activities with a physical structure suitable for data integration and projects.
Within the geological context, it translates in a simple and didactic way the transition from the Serra Geral Formation with possible two basalt lava flows, with vesicular, amygdule and spheroidal exfoliation zones, to the Uberaba Formation. The possibility of direct observation of the abrupt contact between the basalts and the conglomerate of the Uberaba Formation, superimposed, allows us to understand the geological evolution of the local Bauru Basin, given that this unit has a restricted distribution to the municipality and surrounding areas.

That is to say, this is one of the only two places within the Municipality of Uberaba where it is possible to clearly see the difference between the 133-million-year-old volcanic basaltic rocks and the 80-million-year-old sandstone of the Uberaba Formation (soapstone).
An important fossiliferous unit, the Uberaba Formation presents several records of titanosaurs in the city, notably associated with the construction of buildings, soccer stadium, hospital, and aqueduct, as well as three dinosaur eggs found in Peirópolis.
Regarding the Geosite, a complex was built on top of the above-described rocks, entitled “Mirante Uberaba 200 years Complex - Netinho Guaritá Park,” with an approximate area of 76,000 m², located in the Technological Park. Access to the complex is via Randolfo Borges Júnior Avenue, near the Barrigudas Park.
Only the Mirante occupies an area of 12,000 m² on a concrete floor, there is another smaller arena, where pocket shows can be presented, with the possibility of the audience sitting on the grass around the stage. Visitors can ride bicycles, scooters, rollerblades, and bring pets. Dozens of wooden benches are installed around the entire park. The space also has ample parking for cars, motorcycles, and bicycles.
In environmental terms, the Mirante was integrated into the existing forests of the Lajes stream and Uberaba River, which are nearby. The arboreal cover is composed of cerrado and fruit tree species. More than 500 trees were planted in the Mirante area in the 300 hectares of green area, between legal reserve and permanent preservation area, to offer shading and well-being to visitors. Hundreds of other trees were planted along the entire Linear Park route.

At the tip of the Mirante plateau is the bronze statue of Netinho Guaritá, produced in life-size by artist Zellito Rocha. The statue is a donation from RCGuaritá company and is positioned next to two telescopes, installed for contemplation of the horizon, stars, and moon. The location has also received other iron sculptures and three panels painted by Uberaba artists.

Geosite Santa Rita

R. Alaor Prata, 287 - Estados Unidos

Located in the historical center of Uberaba next to the Municipal Library “Bernardo Guimarães,” the Santa Rita Geosite highlights a rocky outcrop that, during an excavation, revealed a fossil, specifically a humerus, of a large Titanosaur buried about 80 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period, which can be seen from the sidewalk of Alaor Prata avenue.

In this location, which is now properly protected, paleoartist Rodolfo Nogueira made a replica of the animal from the fossilized fragment found, reconstructing the entire skeleton of the Titanosaur, which was fixed to the wall. The work was excellent and very informative.

In a green area adjacent to the Municipal Library, the project was developed to meet a geoconservation requirement and allow the dissemination of paleontology and the organization of cultural and educational events, taking advantage of the public infrastructure of the Library: café, culture, accessibility, and public bathrooms.

Two other replicas of prehistoric animals that lived in the region were made and are displayed inside the Geosite. The sculptures reproduce an Abelisaurus and a Titanosaur. The Abelisaurus was a genus of carnivorous, bipedal dinosaur that lived during the Cretaceous Period, and when adult, could reach a height of up to 8 meters in length.

The Titanosaur was a genus of sauropod dinosaurs that also lived during the Cretaceous Period and could reach up to 15 meters in length. The space features the Tourist Service Center, a Geostore with local handicrafts, and a catalog of Geoproducts that will serve to promote local artisans who will create products that reflect the territorial identity of Geopark Uberaba.

The project was developed to meet a geoconservation requirement and allow the dissemination of paleontology and the organization of cultural and educational events, taking advantage of the Library's infrastructure.

Geossite Vale Encantado

(Private Natural Heritage Reserve - PNHR)

Location: Rural area, Municipality of Uberaba MG 798 - Km 37.
Left entrance, 20 km ahead. (Direction Uberaba/Nova Ponte)
Altitude: 886 m Geographic coordinates: 19°33'13"S - 47°53'59"W
Stratigraphic and weathering type of tourist, cultural, and pedagogical interest. Relevance: Local-Regional.

Localizado em área de relevo marcado por forte gradiente a 18 km ao norte de Uberaba. No local ocorrem 5 nascentes que compõem tributários distais da margem direita do Rio Uberaba, bem a montante da cidade. Constitui uma Reserva Particular do Patrimônio Natural (RPPN) com área de 38 ha destinados à preservação, conta com mais de 130 mil árvores de vegetação nativa e uma diversidade de plantas do cerrado. Instituída pela Portaria IEF 070/2004, por iniciativa de seu proprietário José Noel Prata, a RPPN compõe local de grande beleza cênica marcada por áreas preservadas com grande diversidade biológica do cerrado e suas nascentes d’água.

No local são desenvolvidos programas de educação ambiental, em especial voltado aos estudantes que desejam aulas práticas e vivência de campo. Possui logística para receber turistas, com restaurante de comida típica mineira e áreas de lazer e entretenimento, compondo espaço bucólico. Notadamente aos finais de semana tem público garantido face à possibilidade de caminhadas por trilhas na floresta e sua famosa cachoeira de águas cristalinas com queda natural de 15m em meio à mata.

Biome of the Uberaba Geopark Project

The geographical area covered by the Geopark Project is fully located in the Atlantic Forest Biome, considered the richest in biodiversity on the planet (some even consider a small occurrence of the Pampa Biome in the municipality of Torres).
Currently, less than 10% of the original Atlantic Forest area remains, and even so, its floristic and faunistic biodiversity is exceptional. Much of this is due to the fact that the region presents a gradient of altitudes, humid climate, and a great diversity of natural environments such as: beaches; sandbanks; dune fields; wetlands and general moist areas, lakes and rivers, and various types of forests.

Vegetation of Geopark Project Uberaba.

The biomes present in the state of Minas Gerais - Atlantic Forest, Cerrado, and Caatinga - harbor a great variety of vegetation types, resulting in a high species richness. The Cerrado biome covers almost the entire Triângulo Mineiro, occurring in all of its vegetation types. Its trees, some twisted, with thick bark and rough leaves that are almost always attacked by termites and occasional fires (which occur naturally), burning the grasses that cover its soil, form a dry and desolate landscape during the dry months from mid-May to mid-September, until the first rains of spring renew it in an explosion of greenery with delicate flowers and fruits of exotic flavors. With great flora richness, the Cerrado is not homogeneous throughout its latitudinal distribution. However, its vegetation types present with grassy ground cover, shrubs, low-lying plants, and woody species from various families. Among others, the following can be mentioned: the pequi Caryocar brasiliense, the murici Byrsonima crassifolia, the barbatimão Stryphnodendron adstringes, the pau-terra Qualea grandiflora, the pau-de-tucano or mandiocão Vochysia tucanorum, the colher-de-vaqueiro Salvertia convallariaeodora, the jatobá Hymenaea courbaril, and various species of araticum Annona spp. Riparian forests and veredas with their buritis Mauritia flexuosa are common in this environment. Following the courses of water, the forest found a way to penetrate the Cerrado domains, along with plants and animals dependent on water and shelter. In many places in this plant province, depressions or 'pontos de cela' form, providing the emergence of the water table, leading to diffuse springs forming swamps and sometimes lagoons. In the case of altitude fields and plateaus, hydro-morphic fields are formed. If there is any slope on the terrain, veredas are formed from which many watercourses arise. Regarding veredas, there are two distinct typologies: on the plateaus, they present with a grassy and shrubby formation, sometimes occurring some capões of interfluve or flooded forests with a different floristic formation from the predominant scenario (pindaíbas, mangroves, pinhas do brejo, uricangas, lianas, etc.). In the surroundings of these veredas (on the plateau), a differentiated geomorphological conformation occurs, called 'covoais' (Photo 1): scattered clay mounds or murunduns colonized by small trees and shrubs. These covoais have great ecological importance in the hydrological cycle of these regions. The rainwater that descends from the high parts circulates the covoais, decreasing the force and facilitating percolation within the veredas. The other typology is that of the paths that are found below the slope of the plateau, at altitudes lower than 900m. These have a different vegetation and soil characteristics, although they contain elements common to the others. There are also gullies or ravines in the cerrado environment, some of which originated from ancient natural erosion and others from anthropogenic actions, such as the old boundaries marked with ditches that over time and through erosive action became deep trenches and gullies that drain the water table. The erosive processes in these gullies have been contained due to the colonization by gallery vegetation that has settled along the slopes and edges. Many of these gullies have become perennial watercourses. Where the soil is less rocky, cerradões settle. In practically all the vegetation typologies found in the state, wherever watercourses appear, gallery forests or riparian forests are present, and one of their ecological functions is to maintain the species and corridors where fauna moves to different feeding and genetic renewal locations (feeding and breeding areas). Anthropogenic pressures on native vegetation, especially the use of woody plants for charcoal production and logging purposes, agricultural and livestock expansion, and reforestation have devastated vast natural areas. The cerrado floristic formations that occupied the flatter or less steep areas gave way to cattle raising or homogeneous plantations of soybeans, corn, sugarcane, and other crops. Many semideciduous forests on the slopes in the Triângulo Mineiro were cleared to make way for exotic species such as eucalyptus, pine, and even pastures. Even in the most preserved regions within the Atlantic Forest domain (mata zone), that is, in the east-south strip, the semideciduous seasonal forests are represented by small fragments on steep hilltops and slopes, where wood extraction is extremely difficult. 538 threatened plant species have already been identified in Minas Gerais: 87 occur in the Atlantic Forest biome, 19 in the Caatinga, 73 in the Cerrado, and 358 in the Campos Rupestres. There are still small patches (woods) of cerrado species in the Uberaba River basin, scattered in pastures and some crops. These species are individually scattered and in small fragments in the Uberaba River basin. Within the two field matrices, the first is the intensive cultivation of soybeans, corn, and to a lesser extent, rice, sorghum, and vegetables. The second is pasture aimed at bovine production for meat and primarily milk. These sub-forests are trampled by cattle that invariably feed and trample seedlings, compromising the regeneration in these few remaining cerrado fragments.

Fauna of the Geopark Uberaba Project.

Since the middle of the last century, the region of Uberaba has been the target of intense paleontological investigations. The reason is that the entire municipality is one of the largest and most important paleontological sites of the Brazilian continental Cretaceous, with fossil records dating back 80 to 65 million years old.

The first fossils were accidentally discovered in 1945 during the construction of a railway section near the Mangabeira station located north of the city of Uberaba.
The then paleontologist Llewellyn Ivor Price, pictured below, from the Division of Geology and Mining (DGM), now the National Department of Mineral Production (DNPM), was responsible for leading the work, making a significant contribution to national paleontological research through the discovery and description of several new taxa.

Figure: Llewellyn Ivor Price with a dinosaur fossil found in the Mangabeira region.

In 1946, excavations began at the Peirópolis sites, with work carried out annually by Price until 1974. All specimens were taken to Rio de Janeiro and deposited in the DGM.

The establishment in 1991 of the Llewellyn Ivor Price Paleontological Research Center and Dinosaur Museum in the Peirópolis neighborhood allowed for actions that enhanced excavation, preparation activities and, consequently, enabled a remarkable advance in research through the study and publication of a hundred works, revealing to the scientific world new taxa, unique in the paleontological record.

The collection has over 4000 specimens of various groups, in excellent condition, including: sauropod and theropod dinosaurs, crocodyliforms, turtles, amphibians, fish, mammals, as well as mollusks, crustaceans, ferns, and trace fossils associated with the Uberaba and Marília formations (Ponte Alta Member), Upper Cretaceous of the Bauru Basin.

The study of fossil assemblages and their geological contexts has allowed for a better understanding of the depositional environments responsible for the preservation of fossils, as well as the biological diversity present in the region, enabling a more reliable reconstruction of ecosystems at the end of the Cretaceous period. The main fossil unit is the Marília Formation, notably the Serra da Galga Member. It contains the main fossil sites in the municipality of Uberaba, excavated by Price and, in the last 23 years, by the team at the Dinosaur Museum.

Several species of macrofossils and microfossils with scientific relevance have been identified in the region. The fossils are found in a paleoenvironmental context of fine sandstones, deposited during sudden floods in alluvial plains after long dry periods. Freshwater lakes and rivers were rare, usually drying up during long periods of drought. This was a limiting factor for the fauna and flora of this region, which should have been adapted to the severe conditions of this very arid environment.

Paleontological records are generally disarticulated and fragmented. This is due to high-energy depositional environments associated with alluvial fans reworked by braided rivers.
Articulated findings are rare, as is the case with the fossils of Uberabasuchus terrificus, with about 60% of the body articulated.

Figure: Fossil of Uberabasuchus terrificus during excavations in September 2000.

Figure: Fossil of Uberabasuchus terrificus at the Museum of Dinosaurs.

It also includes the regional fossil assemblage, charophyte algae, pteridophyte sporocarps (Marsiliaceae), ostracods, arthropods, bivalves, gastropods, and trace fossils (Magalhães Ribeiro & Ribeiro, 1999). However, the vast majority of findings are attributed to medium and large-sized vertebrates. The most frequent taxonomic groups are fish, amphibians, and reptiles (lizards, turtles, crocodilomorphs, and dinosaurs) (Barbosa, 1955; Petri, 1955; Suarez & Arruda, 1968; Arid & Vizotto, 1965; 1971; Estes & Price, 1973; Baez & Peri, 1989; Kischlat et al., 1994; Bertini, 1994 a, b; Bertini & Carvalho, 1999; Castro et al., 1999; Senra & Silva e Silva, 1999). Almost all vertebrate fossils come from the Marília Formation, especially from the Peirópolis region. The ichthyofauna includes groups related to Amiiformes, Lepisosteiformes, Siluriformes, Characiformes, Osteoglossiformes, and Dipnoi (Bertini et al. 1993, Brito et al. 2006; Gayet & Brito, 1989; Toledo & Bertini, 2005). Recently, fragments attributed to the Family Amiidae, Subfamily Vidalamiinae, were identified and published (Martinelli et al. 2013).

The record of anurans is scarce, but represented by two important findings - Baurubatrachus pricei (Baez & Peri, 1989) and Uberabatrachus carvalhoi (Baez et al. 2012), which are represented by partial skeletons. As in other paleontological sites of the Bauru Group, crocodyliforms are taxonomically varied. The trematochapsid Itasuchus jesuinoi (Price, 1955), the peirosaurids Peirosaurus tormini (Price, 1955) and Uberabasuchus terrificus (Carvalho, et al., 2004), and the notosuchid Labidiosuchus amicum (Kellner et al. 2011) have been recognized. Of these, Uberabasuchus is considered the most complete specimen ever described for the municipality of Uberaba and one of the most significant in Brazil. It comprises about 60% of the skeleton in life position, and in addition to its scientific relevance, it provides a better understanding of paleogeography and ecology. The specimen is on display at the Dinosaur Museum, still embedded in the sandstones of the Marília Formation, making it a unique piece for the popularization of paleontology, attracting the attention of all visitors.
The lizards are represented by the species Pristiguana brasiliensis, possibly a basal iguanid (Estes & Price, 1973). The group of turtles found in Uberaba includes only podocnemids (Pleurodira, Pelomedusoides), which includes freshwater species, still with representatives of the family in the current fauna. In the Triângulo Mineiro region, the three described species come from Uberaba. The first described was Cambaremys langertoni (França & Langer, 2005), which is extremely important for the knowledge of chelonian evolution, since it belongs to the base of the lineage that leads to the clade, congregating all living Podocnemidae. This taxon is distinguished from the other podocnemids of the Upper Cretaceous of South America by a unique set of shell characteristics.
Recently, the species Peiropemys mezzalirai and Pricemys caiera (Gaffney et al., 2011) were presented, both coming from the Caieira site or Point 1 of the Price, discovered 35 more than 50 years ago, further evidencing the relevance of the Caieira de Peirópolis Site and the diversity of this group in the Cretaceous.

Figure - Life and fossil reconstruction of Cambaremys langertoni. Sculpture by Ariel Milani Martine.

Dinosaurs sauropods, represented essentially by the group of Titanosauria, have a prominent representation among all taxa present in the paleontological sites of Uberaba. Their fossils occur in abundance, diversity and unique preservation. Three species of titanosaurs have already been described: Baurutitan britoi and Trigonosaurus pricei (Kellner et al., 2005; Campos et al., 2005) and Uberabatitan ribeiroi (Salgado & Carvalho, 2008).
The species Baurutitan britoi (Kellner et al., 2005) consists of sacral and caudal vertebrae, which denote quite peculiar aspects that enabled the definition of this dinosaur. Trigonosaurus pricei is characterized by a set of cervical, dorsal, sacral, caudal and iliac vertebrae. Both species are relevant for demonstrating the diversity of titanosaurs in Brazilian territory during the Upper Cretaceous. Without a doubt, of the three titanosaurs described from Uberaba, Uberabatitan ribeiroi comprises the most complete and important finding. Considered the largest Brazilian dinosaur, more than 200 fossils were recovered, including cervical, lumbar, and caudal vertebral series, several bony elements of the anterior and posterior limbs, teeth, cervical and dorsal ribs, attributed to three individuals of different age groups. This dinosaur was discovered during the duplication works of BR 050 highway at Serra da Galga site, located 30 km north of Uberaba, at km 153.
Excavations to remove the fossils occurred between 2004 and 2006, where about 8 technicians from CPPLIP removed more than 300 tons of rocks. Later on, new specimens were found, having been discovered in 2011 large fossils showing the potential of the Serra da Galga site for future findings. In addition to these species, records show even greater diversity, with isolated materials of a large-sized indeterminate Titanosauria (Santucci & Bertini, 2006), which would be different from the described species and other specimens referred to the Aeolosaurini clade (Santucci & Bertini, 2001; Martinelli et al., 2011).

Figure - Excavations of Uberabatitan ribeiroi at km 153 of BR 050 Highway, Serra da Galga Geosite.

Titanosaurs are also attributed to fossil eggs, which have only been found in Uberaba and described by Price (1951) and Magalhães Ribeiro (1999). All these records come from the Marilia Formation, and in the Uberaba Formation, the record of titanosaurs is scarce (Santucci, 2008). Regarding theropod dinosaurs, three main groups have been described: Abelisauria, Megaraptora, and Maniraptora. The Maniraptora record includes a claw and a scapula of small taxa found in Caieira Site, in Peirópolis (Novas et al., 2005, Machado et al., 2008). These records are very important because they are included in the clade of theropods most closely related to modern birds (Novas et al., 2005).

Figure - Fossil claw of Maniraptora from Peirópolis.
Figure - Life reconstruction of the Peirópolis Maniraptora. Sculpture: Rodolfo Nogueira.

The Abelisauria are represented by numerous teeth and postcranial bones (Novas et al., 2008; Candeiro et al., 2012). This group could have had representatives measuring 7 to 8 m in length, based on the materials from the Peirópolis and Serra da Galga sites. Dozens of teeth in excellent preservation, some reaching up to 8 cm in length, are associated with this group. The teeth associated with theropods are by far the most abundant record of the occurrence of carnivorous dinosaurs in Uberaba. They consist of more than a hundred specimens of different dimensions and morphologies, highlighting the paleobiological diversity of this group. These materials have been the subject of study in several doctoral and master's theses, although their taxonomic placements are uncertain due to the difficulty of identification from isolated materials without analogies with the bone elements.

Figure - Excavations of Uberabatitan ribeiroi at kilometer 153 of BR 050Geossítio Serra da Galga.

In 2011, by chance, a caudal vertebra fragment related to Megaraptora was discovered during excavations for the construction of the Regional Hospital of Uberaba near Cemitério São João Batista (Martinelli et al., 2013). This new group described for the Upper Cretaceous of the Bauru Group in the Triângulo Mineiro comes from sediments of the Uberaba Formation and reveals a plurality of clades associated with theropods for this region. This new information provides relevant data for the paleobiota of this unit, since the findings from the Uberaba Formation are scarce and almost always occur during interventions in civil construction works in the urban area of the city.
It corroborates the idea that the continental ecosystems of this part of the country were richer in large predators that occupied the top of the food chain in the period between 83 and 65 million years ago. It is important to emphasize the need to expand public geoconservation policies in the context of the municipality, so that new projects that cut potentially fossiliferous rocks have a preliminary paleontological diagnostic study, and that sites relevant for the discovery of fossil specimens are actually implemented with a program for paleontological monitoring and rescue. Mesozoic birds, possibly Enantiornithes, found in the Peirópolis site (Candeiro et al., 2012), although represented by very fragmentary materials, are a sample of the presence of this group in the region. Finally, in 2006, the first Quaternary mammal fossils were discovered in the municipality of Uberaba.
They consist of a series of bones, skull fragments, and teeth attributed to Eremotherium laurillardi. The specimens were found in the urban area of the city, associated with alluvial deposits of a small Pleistocene/Holocene basin.

Figure - Fossil excavations of Eremotherium laurillardi in the city of Uberaba in 2006.

In addition to these already described taxa, hundreds of specimens of bones, eggs, osteoderms, teeth, and trace fossils discovered in Uberaba are known from the literature and collections, such as the L. I. Price Paleontological Research Center and the Earth Sciences Museum/CPRM in Rio de Janeiro. Certainly, the advancement of studies will bring to light new data, further enriching the paleontological context of the Geopark Uberaba insertion areas.

Photo Release: Some eggs from the discovery in Ponte Alta.
Photo Release: João Ismael, from the Cultural Foundation of Uberaba/Municipal Government of Uberaba, preparing a clutch.

A nesting site with twenty dinosaur eggs was found in the neighborhood of Ponte Alta, located approximately 30km from the center of Uberaba. Until now, only a few isolated eggs had been recovered since the beginning of paleontological research, making this the first dinosaur nesting site found in Brazil. The research was published today in the international journal Scientific Reports, from the Nature Group.

Based on characteristics of the eggshells and egg associations, measuring approximately 12cm in diameter, it was possible to compare them with fossils from other sites around the world, especially Argentina. This allowed the identification of the dinosaurs that laid these eggs as belonging to the group of titanosaurs.

Geoconservation actions

Environmental Protection Area (APA) Rio Uberaba.
Natural Monument of Peirópolis - Municipal Law No. 10,339
Legislation (National and Municipal) regarding geoconservation.
Training courses: Union of Construction Workers and Technicians from various Secretariats
Paleontological zoning in the territory of Uberaba municipality.

Geoconservation is the preservation of the geological heritage and history (evolution) of the earth. In order for this to happen, geoparks must work in partnership with the local population, public and private institutions, and specialized agencies. Geoconservation is directly related to society's understanding of its real scientific, educational, and historical-cultural importance. One of the major concerns of geoparks is related to the policies and measures necessary to guarantee the total integrity of fossils, as well as safeguarding the landscape heritage and geodiversity, which consists of the variety of geological environments, phenomena, and active processes that give rise to landscapes, rocks, minerals, fossils, soils, and other surface deposits that support life on Earth (Gray, 2004), notably in the areas of Paleontological Sites. In this sense, the various localities with proven paleontological potential within the municipality of Uberaba, especially in the vicinity of Peirópolis, are protected by state and municipal legislation as well as by actions aimed at valuing the Geological Heritage. Environmental Protection Area (APA) Rio Uberaba The Peirópolis Paleontological Site and other contiguous fossiliferous localities are within the indirect influence area of the APA - RU, a conservation unit created by State Law No. 13.183 of January 21, 1999 (Published in the Minas Gerais Executive Diary - 01/21/1999 page 13 col. 2 microfilm 572). The creation text of the APA contemplates reports about 51 of the lithostratigraphic units outcropping in the entire direct and indirect influence area of the conservation unit, as well as a broad description of the fossil groups discovered in these localities, in addition to the history of the actions developed by the CPPLIP and Dinosaur Museum regarding research, teaching, dissemination, and popularization of the science of fossils, and measures for the preservation of the paleontological heritage. Peirópolis Natural Monument - Municipal Law No. 10.339 Municipal Law No. 10.339, published in the Porta Voz newspaper on March 29, 2009, officially transformed the Peirópolis Special Protection Area (APE) into the Peirópolis Natural Monument (MNP) (Figure 27). This guideline is in line with the National System of Conservation Units Law - SNUC - Federal Law No. 9,985 / 00, effectively guaranteeing the protection of the areas surrounding Peirópolis, where one of Brazil's main paleontological sites is located. It prohibits any developments within its perimeter that jeopardize the integrity of fossil records, categorically prohibits any activities other than paleontological research, teaching, dissemination, and tourism, with the exception of agricultural and livestock activities already developed.


Legislation (National and Municipal) regarding geoconservation

Considering the above, we observe that public policy actions aimed at laws on geoconservation ensure that humans comply with environmental rules. In Brazil, there is Decree Law n° 4.146 of March 1942, which regulates the protection of fossil deposits and states that they are properties of the nation (BRASIL, 1942).
Furthermore, this Decree also regulates the need for prior authorization from the National Mining Agency regarding fossil extraction (BRASIL, 1942). Thus, there is a federal norm that protects geological heritage.
In Uberaba, in 2015, while a condominium construction was taking place in the Vila Olímpica neighborhood, next to Praça Shopping, two dinosaur fossil skeletons were found.
At that time, the CCCP team contacted the National Mineral Agency, the Prosecutor of the Public Ministry of the State of Minas Gerais - Dr. Carlos Alberto Valera -, and the Secretary of the Municipal Environment. Together, they wrote a text, each with their respective expertise in the subject, to be sent to the Municipality of Uberaba for it to promulgate the Decree.
Thus, on July 17, 2015, the Municipality of Uberaba promulgated Portaria n°003, which establishes criteria and procedures for excavation, soil movement, or any other interference that may damage fossil reserves in the territory of the city of Uberaba (UBERABA adota..., 2015).
This action aligns with the definition of geoconservation and provides the municipality with laws that protect the geological heritage of the city, often serving as a model for other metropolises and geoparks.
According to the aforementioned Portaria, the person responsible for the construction must have authorization from a specialized technical professional, who must be a paleontologist or geologist, with proven experience in paleontological monitoring and rescue programs (UBERABA, 2015).
Therefore, any construction in the municipality of Uberaba that interferes or damages rocks from the Uberaba, Vale do Rio do Peixe and Marília Formations, must, necessarily, have the supervision of a specialized technician, as there is a high possibility of finding fossils (PORTARIA..., 2015).

Training courses: Union of construction workers and technicians from various secretariats
It is necessary to carry out heritage education actions and develop training courses in heritage education with people who usually come across fossils, and also offer these courses to those who monitor irregularities in construction projects. In Uberaba, there are institutions such as the Union of Workers in the Industries of Construction and Furniture, the Union of the Construction Industry, and the Regional Council of Engineering and Agronomy of Minas Gerais (CREA-MG) that have direct contact with these entrepreneurs, and can cooperate in this process of heritage education. Thus, forming partnerships with Unions and Councils in this area is essential to carry out these actions efficiently, as they encompass, monitor, and influence their associates/members in the construction industry. In addition, offering and training all employees of regulatory agencies at both the municipal and federal levels is crucial for these actions to become effective, thereby ensuring correct instruction of agency employees to construction workers. Partnerships with the Secretariat of the Environment (SEMAM), Secretariat of Urban Services and Works (SESURB), Secretariat of Economic Development, Tourism, and Innovation (SEDEC) are effective measures so that these employees know how to properly guide builders in obtaining, for example, the permit, in accordance with Portaria nº 003 of 2015, which will be addressed in the next topics. In addition, there should be heritage education courses for the public institutions that work directly with soil and rocks, such as: the Operational Company for Development and Sanitation and Urban Actions (CODAU), the Housing Company of the Grande River Valley (COHAGRA), among others. With that said, on October 15, 2021, the I Training Course for Identifying Rocks and Dinosaur Fossils was held with municipal inspectors and environmental soldiers, the course was taught by Prof. Dr. Thiago Marinho and geologist Dr. Luiz Carlos Borges Ribeiro (FISCAIS..., 2021). This course had the partnership of the following agencies: Peirópolis Cultural and Scientific Complex of UFTM, State Public Prosecutor's Office of Minas Gerais (MPMG), and the municipal government (FISCAIS..., 2021). Thus, employees from the inspection sectors of the Uberaba City Hall and members of the Environmental Military Police - with the objective of improving inspection for the rescue of dinosaur fossils in the Municipality - had theoretical and practical classes (fieldwork) for this purpose.

Source: Geopark Uberaba Project Team

The prosecutor Carlos Valera, from the Regional Coordination of Environment of MPMG, was present at this course and highlighted the importance of municipal and military environmental inspectors in preserving the fossils buried in the municipality's soil (FISCAIS..., 2021). Geologist Ribeiro emphasized: 'The course is preparing the personnel of the Municipal Government of Uberaba and the environmental military who work in rural areas to take correct and assertive actions (FISCAIS..., 2021).' Thus, the team of the Geopark Uberaba Project has made progress in both heritage and geological education and, most importantly, in geopreservation, the two pillars of the Project.

Legislation (National and Municipal) related to geopreservation: Considering the above, we observe that public policy actions aimed at geopreservation laws guarantee the proper compliance of man with environmental rules. In Brazil, there is Decree Law no. 4,146 of March 1942, which regulates the protection of fossil deposits and provides that these are properties of the nation (BRASIL, 1942). In addition, this Decree also regulates the need for prior authorization from the National Mining Agency regarding fossil extraction (BRASIL, 1942). Thus, there is a federal norm that protects geological heritage. In Uberaba, in 2015, while a condominium was being built in the Vila Olímpica neighborhood, next to the Praça Shopping, two dinosaur fossil skeletons were found. At that time, the CCCP team contacted the National Mineral Agency, the prosecutor of the Public Prosecutor's Office of the State of Minas Gerais - Dr. Carlos Alberto Valera - and the secretary of the Municipal Environment. Together, they prepared a text, each with their respective expertise on the subject, to be sent to the Uberaba City Hall for it to promulgate the Decree. Thus, on July 17, 2015, the Uberaba Municipal Government promulgated Portaria no.003, which establishes procedures for excavating, moving soil, or any other interference that may damage fossil reserves in the city's territory (UBERABA adota..., 2015). This action aligns with the definition of geopreservation and provides the municipality with laws that protect the city's geological heritage, an excellent model to be used in other metropolises and/or in other geoparks. Therefore, any work in the municipality of Uberaba that interferes with or damages rocks from the Uberaba, Vale do Rio do Peixe, and Marília formations must, necessarily, have the accompaniment of a specialized technician, as there is a great possibility of finding a fossil (PORTARIA..., 2015). According to the mentioned decree, the person responsible for the work must have the authorization of a specialized technical responsible, who must be a paleontologist or a geologist, who must have proven experience in paleontological monitoring and rescue programs (UBERABA, 2015).

Access the decree here:

Paleontological Zoning in the Municipality of Uberaba

The Special Fund of the Public Prosecutor's Office of the State of Minas Gerais (FUNEMP) will provide resources for the paleontological zoning of the city, identifying fossil and paleontological sites in the city's soil (UBERABA..., 2020).
The resources will be R$ 100,000 from the law granting tax incentives for economic development, provided by the Municipality, and R$ 100,000 from the State and Federal Public Prosecutor's Office, from the environmental Adjustment of Conduct Terms (TACs) (UBERABA..., 2020).
'The challenge now is to improve enforcement,' said prosecutor Carlos Valera, revealing that Uberaba will have its geological zoning. According to the prosecutor: 'Paleontology is in Uberaba's DNA, highlighting the importance of the Geopark Project to leverage the city's tourism potential' (FISCAIS..., 2021).
According to the mayor at the time, Paulo Piau, the action constitutes a guiding instrument for the preservation of biodiversity, without hindering economic development, i.e., an environmental and economic gain for the city of Uberaba (UBERABA..., 2020).
In the view of prosecutor Carlos Valera, by carrying out the mapping, we will know exactly where the fossil points will be. Therefore, it will be easier and faster, as the material is identified and removed before the work takes place.
The deputy secretary of Economic Development, Tourism, and Innovation at the time, Anne Roy Nóbrega, considered this action a legal and extremely important milestone for geoconservation actions, a crucial point for the Geopark Uberaba Project's endorsement.
According to Nóbrega, the preservation of Uberaba's geological heritage is likely to be an international highlight. 'One of the most important actions is that the community can actually adopt this environmental preservation project with economic development,' which are two quite conflicting aspects to achieve in consensus.
Nóbrega also emphasized that the paleontological mapping will be defined by three colors (green, orange, and red), with green: areas where there are no indications of paleontological material; orange, areas that may eventually have this material; red, soils that possibly, because they are predominantly fossil-bearing rocks, have paleontological material. In the red areas, when the materials are found, they will be removed and delivered to UFTM for cataloging and identification (UBERABA..., 2020).

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