Armadillo as big as a car vs bus-sized croc: 12,000 fossils found in Venezuelan oil pit
Palaeontologists have found a 'Jurassic Park' of fossils in Venezuela
Friday 06 September 2013
Dinosaur hunters say they have unearthed a veritable “Jurassic Park” of ancient fossils in a Venezuelan oil pit, including a giant armadillo as big as a car, a bus-sized crocodile and a sabre-toothed tiger.
More than 12,000 fossils have been discovered during surveys by oil companies in a large region north of the Orinoco River in the South American country, according to a report by Agence France-Presse. Palaeontologists say they date from 14,000 to 370 million years old.
Among the discoveries is a femur of a giant, six-ton mastodon that lived at the end of the Ice Age 25,000 years ago. A featherless chicken that looked like an iguana, a 10-foot pelican and 12-million-year-old giant sloths were also dredged up from the oily ground.
Most of the finds are stored at the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research, where scientists have spent years identifying the fossils. It is a laborious process – it took four years for the sabre-toothed tiger to be definitively identified.
“Imagine a puzzle of 5,000 pieces and you have 200 pieces you are trying to interpret and draw a conclusion that might contribute something to science,” head palaeontologist Ascania Rincon told AFP, adding that the institute plans to unveil an entirely new species from the fossils in the coming weeks.
The team has five researchers and a limited budget, but they say their next goal is to prove that prehistoric humans also lived in the region.
“We have already found spearheads,” said Mr Rincon. “What’s lacking is reliable indication that man hunted the mega-fauna that we are finding.” He says part of his goal is to raise awareness about the need to protect the Earth’s ecology. “We are destroying what little is left of the forests, oceans, deserts; we are destroying our ecosystems and accelerating extinction.”
For Venezuela, with the largest proven oil reserves in the world, palaeontology also has economic benefits. “It seems that it has no use, but it has economic implications. With a fossil record, we can determine the age of an oil field,” he said.
Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity
Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94
Sites using the popular Gigya comment platform were attacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA)
- 1 Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler following death of batsman Phil Hughes
- 3 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 4 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, GAME, PC World and Argos
Miss Honduras Maria Jose Alvarado's stylist Luis Alfredo Garcia is found stabbed to death
Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler following death of batsman Phil Hughes
Dr Lam Hoe Yeoh: Voyeur doctor jailed for eight years after using network of hidden cameras to film patients, colleagues and friends on the toilet
'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
£20000 - £22000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst Re...
£400 - £420 per day: Langley James : IT Project Manager; 6 month FTC; Brighton...
£25000 per annum + training: Langley James : Web Developer; PHP, MySQL, Java; ...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + £100,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: Birmingham, Derby, L...