A well-preserved dinosaur tail was uncovered in a northern Mexico desert, according to the country’s National Institute for Anthropology and History (INAH).
The 16-foot long tail is unusually well preserved and is the first specimen of its kind to be found in Mexico. It was found near the small town of General Cepeda, according to INAH.
Reutres reports that the tail was likely half of the ancient dinosaur’s length. Other fossilized bones, including one of the creature’s hips, were also discovered.
The fossil was tentatively identified as a hadrosaur, otherwise called a duck-billed dinosaur. Finding an intact dinosaur tail is relatively rare, making the new discovery truly one of a kind.
Scientists hope that the new discovery will help them understand the hadrosaur family more. They also hope it will provide more samples for researching diseases that affected dinosaur bones.
The presence of the dinosaur tail in Mexico was reported by locals in June 2012. The INAH performed an initial inspection, then began the process of excavating the partial skeleton earlier this month. After 20 days in the desert, archaeologists successfully removed the sedimentary rock covering the ancient creature’s bones, according to ABC News.
The team that performed the excavation of the dino tail was made up of archaeologists and students from INAH, along with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). In all, they found 50 vertebrae and several other fossilized bones. However, the remains are not complete.
Despite never finding an intact dinosaur tail, researchers have found several dinosaur bones in many parts of Coahuila state, along with the country’s other northern desert states.
During the Cretaceous period, the region was on the coast, allowing archaeologists to uncover dinosaurs that lived both in the ocean and on land. While the tail resembles that of a hadrosaur, the institute has said it isn’t possible to confirm the identity of the dinosaur tail.
Peleontologist Felisa Aguilar explained that the dinosaur lived about 72 million years ago.
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