Buenos Aires Times

argentina Paleontology

Fossil of prehistoric deer found in north of Buenos Aires Province

The fossil – which hasn't yet been given a definitive age – included almost 70 percent of the animal, including its spine, extremities and teeth. The discovery came from a site where 24 fossils of mammals and reptiles have been found in the last 17 years.

Tuesday 8 January, 2019
Handout picture taken on October 26, 2018 and released by the Museo Paleontologico
Handout picture taken on October 26, 2018 and released by the Museo Paleontologico "Fray Manuel de Torres" on January 7, 2019 showing fossil bones of a prehistoric deer specimen found recently at the Campo Sposito palaeontological site in San Pedro, in the north of the province of Buenos Aires. A very well preserved prehistoric deer fossil specimen was recently found in San Pedro, the University of La Matanza reported. The fossil includes teeth, parts of its extremities and the vertebrate column, practically 70 percent of the animal. Foto:AFP/HANDOUT

The well-preserved fossil of a prehistoric deer has been discovered in the north of Buenos Aires Province, the University of La Matanza revealed on Monday.

The fossil – which hasn't yet been given a definitive age – included almost 70 percent of the animal, including its spine, extremities and teeth. The discovery came from a site where 24 fossils of mammals and reptiles have been found in the last 17 years.

"It's amazing to see how its spine and neck remained in the 'life position'," said José Luis Aguilar, director of the Paleontological Museum of San Pedro, in the north of Buenos Aires province.

As well as an almost complete set of teeth and its spine, the skeleton also included more than 20 ribs, the pelvic bone, a rear leg and a part of a femur.

This species of deer, from the Morenelaphus genus of which only fragmentary remains had been found until now, could reach up to 200 kilogrammes (440 pounds).

"This little animal has come to give us details about a moment in our prehistory when the environment they lived in was quite different to now," said Aguilar, who made the discovery.

Tests are due to be carried out to determine the fossil's age but the Morenelaphus is from the Pleistocene era that lasted from 2.5 million years ago until around 12,000 years ago.

- AFP

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