Scientists discover major Jurassic fossil site in Argentina

February 28, 2016
A view of Patagonia in Argentina on March 18, 2014
A view of Patagonia in Argentina on March 18, 2014

Paleontologists in Argentina have announced the discovery of a major Jurassic-era fossil site four years after it was first discovered.

The site, which spans 23,000 square miles (60,000 square kilometers) in Patagonia, southern Argentina, came to light this week with the publication of a report in the journal Ameghiniana.

"No other place in the world contains the same amount and diversity of Jurassic fossils," said geologist Juan Garcia Massini of the Regional Center for Scientific Research and Technology Transfer (CRILAR).

The fossils—between 140 and 160 million years old—lie on the surface because they were recently exposed by erosion, said Garcia Massini, who leads the research team investigating the site.

"You can see the landscape as it appeared in the Jurassic—how thermal waters, lakes and streams as well as plants and other parts of the ecosystem were distributed," he said.

The fossils were preserved almost immediately, in less than a day in some cases.

"You can see how fungi, cyanobacteria and worms moved when they were alive," Garcia Massini said of the site that lies along the Deseado Massif mountain range.

Ignacio Escapa of the Egidio Feruglio Paleontology Museum said the researchers had found "a wide range of micro and macro-organisms."

The fossils are so well preserved, that researchers say each rock extracted from the site could possibly open the door to a new discovery.

Explore further: Mammoth dinosaur cast goes on display in NY

Related Stories

Mammoth dinosaur cast goes on display in NY

January 14, 2016

A cast of one of the largest dinosaurs ever discovered, a mammoth 122-foot (37.2 meter) titanosaur went on display for the first time in New York on Thursday.

New 'missing link' dinosaur discovered in Argentina

March 23, 2011

Fossils of a recently discovered dinosaur species in Argentina is a "missing link" in the evolution of the long-necked giants that roamed the earth millions of years ago, paleontologists said.

Turn back the molecular clock, say Argentina's plant fossils

December 2, 2014

Molecular clocks—based on changes in genetic material—indicate much younger ages for a wide variety of plants found as fossils in southern Argentina than do the solid, geologic dates of those fossils, according to geoscientists ...

Recommended for you

Fossils of early tetrapods unearthed in Scotland

December 7, 2016

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers working at a dig site in Scotland has found tetrapod fossils dated to approximately 15 million years after the Devonian mass extinction—a time period experts in the field have referred ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

foolspoo
not rated yet Feb 28, 2016
Juan mispoke. No other place yet discovered would be accurate. Regardless the size, it is tiny.
foolspoo
not rated yet Feb 28, 2016
BUENOS AIRES: Paleontologists in Argentina have announced the discovery of a major Jurassic-era fossil site four years after it was first discovered.

The site, which spans 23,000 square miles (60,000 square kilometers) in Patagonia, southern Argentina, came to light this week with the publication of a report in the journal Ameghiniana.

"No other place in the world contains the same amount and diversity of Jurassic fossils," said geologist Juan Garcia Massini of the Regional Center for Scientific Research and Technology Transfer (CRILAR).

The fossils -- between 140 and 160 million years old -- lie on the surface because they were recently exposed by erosion, said Garcia Massini, who leads the research team investigating the site.

"You can see the landscape as it appeared in the Jurassic -- how thermal waters, lakes a.....

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.