Palaeontologists discover dinosaur tail in northern Mexico
Team identifies fossil as a hadrosaur, or duck-billed dinosaur
The tail, found near the small town of General Cepeda, likely made up half the dinosaur’s length. Photograph: Mauricio Marat/INAH
A team of palaeontologists have discovered the fossilised remains of a 72 million-year-old dinosaur tail in a desert in northern Mexico, the country’s National Institute for Anthropology and History (INAH) said on Monday.
Apart from being unusually well preserved, the 5m (16 ft) tail was the first ever found in Mexico, said Francisco Aguilar, INAH’s director in the border state of Coahuila.
The team of palaeontologists and students from INAH and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), identified the fossil as a hadrosaur, or duck-billed dinosaur.
The tail, found near the small town of General Cepeda, likely made up half the dinosaur’s length.
Palaeontologists found the 50 vertebrae of the tail intact after spending 20 days in the desert lifting a sedimentary rock covering the creature’s bones.
Strewn around it were other fossilised bones, including one of the dinosaur’s hips.
Dinosaur tail finds are relatively rare. The discovery could further understanding of the hadrosaur family and aid research on diseases that afflicted dinosaur bones, which resembled those of humans, Aguilar said.
Scientists have already determined that dinosaurs suffered from tumours and arthritis, for example.
Dinosaur remains have been found in many parts of the state of Coahuila, in addition to Mexico’s other northern desert states.