Archaeologists discover giant dinosaur fossil that is 72 million years old in Mexico
A team of archaeologists has discovered the fossilized remains of a 72-million-year-old dinosaur tail in a desert in northern Mexico, it has been announced.
Researchers found the ancient dinosaur tail in the state of Coahuila in Mexico
The “unusually well-preserved” 5-meter-long tail was the first to be found in Mexico, said Francisco Aguilar, director of the country’s National Institute of Anthropology and History.
The ‘unusually well preserved’ five-yard-long tail was the first to be found in Mexico. it is 72 million years old
The team, made up of archaeologists and students from INAH and the National Autonomous University of Mexico, identified the fossil as a hadrosaur, or duck-billed dinosaur.
Archaeologists painstakingly excavate the tail.
The tail, found near the small town of General Cepeda in the border state of Coahuila, was probably half the length of the dinosaur, Aguilar said.
Archaeologists found all 50 fully intact tail vertebrae after spending 20 days in the desert slowly kicking up sedimentary rock that covered the creature’s bones.
The tail, from a hadrosaur, will allow experts to understand the bone conditions that affected the colossal beasts.
Surrounding the tail were other fossilized bones, including one of the dinosaur’s hips, the INAH said.
Findings of dinosaur tails are relatively rare, according to the INAH.
Despite Mexico’s rich heritage in paleontology, this is the first dinosaur tail found in the country.
The new discovery could improve understanding of the hadrosaur family and help investigate diseases that afflicted dinosaur bones, which resembled those of humans, Aguilar said.
Scientists have already determined that dinosaurs suffered from tumors and arthritis, for example.
Scattered around the tail were other fossilized bones, including one of the dinosaur’s hips.
Dinosaur remains have been found in many parts of the state of Coahuila, as well as other desert states in northern Mexico.
“We have a very rich history of paleontology,” Aguilar said.
He pointed out that during the Cretaceous period, which ended about 65 million years ago, much of what is now north central Mexico was on the coast.
An artist rendering provided by the National Geographic Society shows what a hadrosaur is believed to have looked like. Most dinosaur groups, except for the hadrosaurs and ceratopsians, were in decline during the last 40 million years of the Cretaceous.
This has allowed researchers to unearth remains of marine and terrestrial dinosaurs.
Locals informed the INAH of the presence of the remains in June 2012. After initial inspections, excavation began earlier this month. The remains of the tail will be transferred to General Cepeda for cleaning and further investigation.