Mexico‏ uncovers 72m-year-old dinosaur

24th Jul 2013

As ages go, the latest archaeological find in a northern Mexico desert makes Methuselah look like a new-born baby.

Researchers have unearthed the fossilised remains of a 72 million-year-old dinosaur's five yard-long tail (4.5 metres) that is "unusually well preserved" and thought to have made up half of its entire length.

Dinosaur tail finds are rare and this is the first one discovered in Mexico.

Mexico is a land rich in cultural sites such as the pyramids of Chichen Itza and Teotihuacan to lure holidaymakers on group tours in their legions.

But the country has a fascinating history that extends far beyond mankind.

The team, comprising archaeologists and students from the country's National Institute for Anthropology and History (INAH) and the National Autonomous University of Mexico, identified the fossil as a hadrosaur, or duck-billed dinosaur.

INAH director Francisco Aguilar said the find continues Mexico's "very rich history of palaeontology".

The tail was uncovered outside the small town of General Cepeda in the border state of Coahuila.

Researchers discovered the 50 vertebrae of the tail totally intact after spending 20 days painstakingly lifting a sedimentary rock covering the creature's bones.

Scattered around the tail were other remains, including one of the dinosaur's hips.

The find could aid further understanding of the hadrosaur family and help research on diseases that hit dinosaur bones, which resembled those of humans, Aguilar said.

Researchers have already discovered that dinosaurs were afflicted by tumours and arthritis.

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