Excavation Sites in Patagonia – Hundreds of Fossil Fragments
At the excavation sites in Patagonia, hundreds of fossil fragments seemed to be scattered, revealing the mass graves of duck-billed dinosaurs. The discovery is a part of year’s long research wherein researchers had set out to excavate and study fossil remains from the base of South American to the northern tip of Antarctica. This would enable scientists to understand better the varying conditions since the continents started to form millions of years back.
According to Scientific American, the researchers have disclosed over four miles of hadrosaur bone comprising of parts of the rib, femur, cage and vertebrae. These dinosaurs are said to be duck-billed herbivores and seem to be the southernmost dinosaurs that are found in South America. Marcelo Leppe, a paleobotanist as well as chief scientist at the Chilean Antarctic Institute – Inach, informed Scientific American that, `something big happened here.
There were thousands of animals whose bones are partially burned, perhaps they were victims of a paleo-wildfire and it is somewhat strange’. The sites throughout Patagonia inclusive of El Puesto, Las Chinas as well as Gerro Guido together with part of the Dorotea and Cerro Fortalexa formations in the vicinity of the border of Argentina had been excavated by the researchers.
Discoveries Support Earlier Theories
Together with the hadrosaur fossils, titanosaurid sauropods were also discovered at the site, which is the largest dinosaurs in Chile, along with the marine reptiles and the fragments of plants. Scientific Americans explained that these provided an insight of the continents between 72 and 66 million years back, the times just before the Chicxulub meteorite struck. Researchers now state that the time period had been active with new species and competition.
Accounts of this type were said to be a missing factor and now can be helpful in explaining the events at the end of the Cretaceous era. So far, the discoveries of the team tend to support the earlier theories on the era’s changing climate. It is presumed that this period faced severe drop in sea level around 25 meters over a million years.
In Patagonia and Antarctica’s James Ross Basin as well as the South Shetland Islands, the researchers had discovered evidence which supported the decline sea levels together with three cooling events 73 million, 70 million and 68 million years ago.
Financed by National Commission for Scientific & Technology Research
The international team of researchers, over the period of many years, had only three weeks of every summer to excavate sites in the mountain area of Patagonia. In the archaeological site in Chile, the researchers had also discovered the oldest fossil leaves of the Nothofagus tree together with other forest features that had also been located in the Antarctica.
All these discoveries have been helpful in supporting the theories of a land bridge connecting the two continents. The team is financed mainly by the National Commission for Scientific and Technology Research of Chile comprises of experts in paleomagnetism, plants, pollen, geology, dinosaurs together with marine reptiles.
The research is said to continue for many years and is already working on biostratigraphy, paleodiversity, past climate utilising plant fossils and isotopic analysis of strontium carbon and oxygen. It will also look at microglendonites – hydrated crystals formed in marine environment besides other investigation that will take place at the research centres in the five countries and very soon in U.K.