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A woolly mammoth's mandible on display at the new exhibition A woolly mammoth's mandible on display at the new exhibition. Melitón Tapia, INAH.

INAH opens Mexican paleontology exhibition in Mexico City

Pieces on display are being shown for the first time

Forty-three paleontology discoveries and five fossil replicas from a variety of invertebrates and mammals went on display this week for the first time with the opening of a new exhibit in the National Museum of World Cultures in Mexico City.

The National Institute of Anthropology and History’s (INAH’s) Mexico Paleontology exhibition includes pieces dating back hundreds of millions of years, from the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras to the late Pleistocene era (popularly referred to as the Ice Age), and ranging in size from two macrons to two meters long.

The exhibition’s goal is to bring the public closer to the field of paleontology and encourage people to participate in the conservation and protection of Mexico’s rich paleontological heritage.

Curators explained that paleontology is not a well-understood field in Mexican society, and many people draw limited associations with dinosaurs and woolly mammoths. To expand the public’s horizons, the exposition emphasizes the rigor of field work and presents basic information about the discipline, which also makes use of fossilized plants, eggs and footprints to draw conclusions about environmental conditions in the earth’s distant past and evolution.

The exhibition also comprises two presentations: one that explains the legal framework for investigation, protection, conservation and diffusion of paleontology in Mexico, and another dedicated to the Rincón Colorado in Coahuila, the first fossil site open to the public in Mexico, conceived by all three levels of government as a key educational tool.

Curators emphasized that local populations are often the first to stumble upon new fossil sites.

Museum employees said the first paleontological research in Mexico by the INAH was closely linked to investigations into the first humans on the American continent. Since then, the discipline has evolved into a rich practice of recovery, preservation, research and public education.

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