Velafrons coahuilensis a new species of dinosaur unearthed in Mexico
Pat Garcia | February 12, 2008 at 04:14 pmby
1328 views | 0 Recommendations | 0 comments
New dinosaur from Mexico offers insights into ancient life on West America
Cretaceous-era duck-billed dinosaur discovery opens new window into time when much of continent was submerged
SALT LAKE CITY — A new species of dinosaur unearthed in Mexico is giving scientists fresh insights into the ancient history of western North America, according to an international research team led by scientists from the Utah Museum of Natural History at the University of Utah.
“To date, the dinosaur record from Mexico has been sparse,” said Terry Gates, a paleontologist with the Utah Museum of Natural History, Utah’s designated natural history museum.
The new creature — aptly dubbed Velafrons coahuilensis — was a massive plant-eater belonging to a group of duck-billed dinosaurs, or hadrosaurs. “Velafrons is a combination of Latin and Spanish meaning “sailed forehead,” in reference to the large sail-like crest that grew atop the dinosaur’s head,” said Rosario Gomez, director of the paleontology program in Coahuila, Mexico. “The second part of the name honors the state of Coahuila in north-central Mexico, where the specimen was found,” said Gomez.
A Different World
For most of the Late Cretaceous, high global sea levels resulted in flooding of the central, low-lying portion of North America. As a result, a warm, shallow sea extended from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, splitting the continent in two. Dinosaurs living on the long, narrow, peninsula-like western landmass — known as Laramidia, or more simply, “West America,” — occupied only a narrow belt of plains that were sandwiched between the seaway to the east and rising mountains to the west. Central America had not formed at the time, which made Mexico the southern tip of the continent.
In many ways, the Late Cretaceous is the best-understood time during the Age of Dinosaurs, thanks in large part to over 120 years of dinosaur hunting in Canada, Montana, and the Dakotas. “Yet the dinosaurs from Mexico have remained a mystery,” noted Scott Sampson, a Utah Museum of Natural History paleontologist and co-author of the study.
An Ancient Ecosystem Revealed
In addition to Velafrons, the most recent expeditions recovered remains of a second kind of duck-bill dinosaur, as well as a plant-eating horned dinosaur. Like its famous cousin, Triceratops, the new Coahuila horned dinosaur bore a massive horn over each eye and a long bony frill projecting rearward. The Cerro del Pueblo Formation has also yielded remains of large and small carnivores, including large tyrannosaurs (though smaller, older relatives of T. rex), and more diminutive Velociraptor-like predators armed with sickle-claws on their feet. As well as an abundance of fossilized bones, researchers discovered the largest assemblage of dinosaur track ways known from Mexico, a large area crisscrossed with the tracks of different kinds of dinosaurs. In all, the emerging picture is one of a diverse group of dinosaurs, perhaps representing an entirely new set of species.
Gates noted that this project is about much more than naming new dinosaurs. Each new species represents another vital piece of the puzzle as we attempt to comprehend the world of dinosaurs.
As might be suspected, paleontologists are excited about the future paleontological potential of this area.
Encuentran en México una nueva especie de dinosaurio.
February 12th, 2008 @ 3:40pm
12 Feb (Notimex).- Un equipo de paleontólogos mexicanos y
estadounidenses dio a conocer hoy en Salt Lake City, Utah, el
descubrimiento en México de una nueva especie de dinosaurio que vivió
hace unos 72 millones de años.
La nueva criatura, bautizada
como "Velafrons coahuilensis", era un masivo consumidor de plantas de
unos 7.5 metros de largo, perteneciente a un grupo de dinosaurios
conocidos como hadrosáuridos, o "pico de pato", por la forma de su
These members have powered this story: