Some dinosaur fossils unearthed eight years ago in Coahuila have led to the discovery of a new species that lived in Mexico 85 million years ago.
Acantholipan gonzalezi, which belongs to the nodosaurus family, is the oldest dinosaur to have been found in the region.
Paleontologists based their discovery after eight years of research on bones and bone fragments excavated in Ocampo in the northwest of the state, and believe that the young animal had died and its body was swept away by a river, later depositing it on what at the time was the coast.
A team of paleontologists from Coahuila’s Desert Museum, Chiapas and Germany judged that the remains were sufficiently distinct to be described as a new species, despite having only a partial skeleton to go on.
The animal would have weighed a little over half a tonne and measured 3.5 meters long. An adult would have been five to six meters long.
Specialists say the finding confirms that many species of dinosaur inhabited Mexico tens of millions of years ago.
“Here in Mexico, we have a significant paleontological wealth, specifically in the state of Coahuila. We have this paleontological richness, and it is worthwhile for the population . . . to get involved in getting to know this heritage that belongs to all Mexicans,” said José Rubén Guzmán Gutiérrez, a Desert Museum collaborator.
The name Acantholipan gonzalezi combines the Greek akanthos, which means spine, with lipan, in honor of a tribe of Apaches who lived in the area of the discovery, and Mexican paleontologist Arturo González González, the director of the Desert Museum.
The museum, located in Saltillo, plans to display a replica of the dinosaur.
Meanwhile, the project that spawned the new find, Dinosaurs of the Desert Region of Coahuila, will continue, Guzmán said, with further work in the Ocampo area.
Source: El Universal (sp)