72 Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Tail Found In Mexican Desert

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A dinosaur tail from 72 million years ago was found in the Mexican desert.

 

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The National Institute for Anthropology and History (INAH) of Mexico said on Monday that archaeologists had found the preserved remains of a dinosaur tail from 72 million years ago in a desert in northern Mexico.

 

The 5 meter (16 foot) tail was the first one ever found in Mexico, according to Francisco Aguilar, head of INAH in the border state of Coahuila. It was also in remarkably good shape.

A fossilized tail of a duck-billed dinosaur, or hadrosaur, is seen in the Municipality of General Cepeda, Coahuila in this handout picture by National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). REUTERS/INAH/Handout via Reuters

The group, which included scientists and students from INAH and UNAM, decided that the fossil belonged to a hadrosaur, which is a type of dinosaur with a duck-bill.

Aguilar said that the tail, found near General Cepeda’s town, was probably half the length of the dinosaur.

After 20 days in the desert, slowly lifting a layer of solid rock that covered the animal’s bones, archaeologists found that all 50 vertebrae in the tail were still in one piece.

 

INAH said that there were other preserved bones, like a dinosaur hip, spread out around the tail.

INAH says that finding a dinosaur tail is not very common. The new find could help us learn more about the hadrosaur family and the diseases that affected dinosaur bones, which were similar to diseases that affect people, Aguilar said.

Scientists already know that some dinosaurs had health problems, like cancer and arthritis.

In many places in the state of Coahuila and in other northern desert states of Mexico, dinosaur bones have been found.

“Physics has a very long history with us,” Aguilar said.

About 65 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period, he said, a lot of what is now central northern Mexico was on the coast. This has helped scientists find the bones of dinosaurs that lived on land and in the water.

In June 2012, people in the area told INAH that the bodies were there. After the first checks, digging started earlier this month. The tail’s parts will be taken to General Cepeda to be cleaned up and looked into further.

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