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30 Sep, 2014 02:17

Largest known dinosaur graveyard discovered in Mexico

Largest known dinosaur graveyard discovered in Mexico

German and Mexican scientists have discovered world’s largest concentration of dinosaur remains in Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert, Der Spiegel reports. Palaeontologists found the remains of 14 dinosaurs on a plot size of 50 to 200 meters.

READ MORE: ‘Biggest land animal’ ever? Huge 60-ton dino’s bones unearthed in Argentina

Skeletons of 15 other animals were also discovered within a few kilometers of the spot – including crocodiles, turtles and early mammals.

“There is a huge delta here with several rivers flowing into the Gulf of Mexico,” palaeontologist Eberhard Frey from the natural history Museum in Karlsruhe, Germany, said. “There was a very active ecosystem. We have not only found dinosaur bones, but also four different species of turtles, remains of very small crocodiles and teeth of early mammals.”

This is the first site of its kind in terms of density of discovered remains. “I know of no other place that has so many dinosaurs in such a small area,” Professor Wolfgang Stinnesbeck of the University of Heidelberg said.

Chihuahua Desert near Sierra Blanca, Texas. (image from wikipedia.org by Ricraider)

Scientists have also found deep footprints left by carnivorous dinosaurs near the excavation area. This has led to the conclusion that giant Theropodas – which include the famous Tyrannosaurus rex – walked though this area.

“This week we have found three teeth of Theropods,” Frey said. “These are diagnostic features that allow us to determine the species more precisely.”

Scientists will continue their work at the site next year as well, while trying to expand the excavation area and examine the remains closer at the laboratory.

This is the second grand dinosaur-related discovery in September. In the beginning of the month, scientists excavated the remains of possibly the largest known creature that ever walked this Earth – a 26-meter long, 60-ton dinosaur dubbed Dreadnoughtus Schrani.

READ MORE: Dinosaurs' colossal bad luck: How they died and we survived

Meanwhile, the topic of dinosaur extinction continues to be debated in the scientific community. One of the latest studies released this past summer suggests that if the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs had hit a couple of million years earlier or later, they might have survived and humans might never have existed. The assumption is that dinosaurs were particularly vulnerable at the time of the impact.