Dinosaur bones dating back 72 million years found in Mexico

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Paleontologists have found in the desert of Coahuila, a state in northern Mexico, fragments of vertebrae and long bones that could have belonged to a species of dinosaur that lived in the region 72 million years ago during the late Cretaceous period, officials said.

Gallimimus at the Natural History Museum, London an Ornitomimidae [Credit: Photgraph by en:User:Ballista]

The fossils could come from species that once inhabited the area, such as the Hadrosauridae, or duck-billed dinosaur, the Ornitomimidae, a biped similar to the ostrich, and Tyrannosaurus, said the National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH.

The bones were discovered by INAH paleontologists at the city of General Cepeda in the Coahuila desert, which is on the border with the United States.

The remains of prehistoric fauna were found in a paleontological deposit called Las Aguilas while tasks of cleaning and conservation of the site were being performed.

The fossils were fragments of vertebrae and long bones, probably femurs, which were found at several points on the site that covers some 53,750 sq. feet, said INAH-Coahuila Center paleontologist Felisa Aguilar, who is in charge of conservation and research at the deposit.

Some 207 footprints have been found in the area, left by dinosaurs that lived around 72 million years ago.

“It is not yet possible to provide details of the type of species these bones belonged to, since their state of fragmentation requires more detailed study,” Aguilar said.

It’s very probable the fossils belong to individuals of the duck-billed dinosaur, Ornitomimidae and Tyrannosaurus families, because “from the footprints at the site, we know that they lived there,” Aguilar said.

Following this discovery, the paleontologists did a study of the area surrounding Las Aguilas and came up with another three places where dinosaurs had left their footprints.

“Those places are still hidden under vegetation and won’t be opened to the public until they are registered so that their future conservation can be guaranteed,” Agilar said.

Paleontological remains more than 70 million years old have been found on 90 percent of the site at General Cepeda, and on 5 percent of it have been discovered vestiges of the Pleistocene, a geological period dating from 2.5 million years to 10,000 years ago.

Source: Fox News Group [March 02, 2011] 

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