A team of CONICET paleontologists just officially announced the discovery of the fossil remains of a hitherto unknown bird species that, according to informationWe lived in Argentine Patagonia around 70,000,000 years ago.
According to the authors of the discovery – in which scientists from the Natural History Foundation “Félix de Azara” and the National Museum of Nature and Science of Tokyo, Japan-, to the Specialized magazine Cretaceous Researchthe remains of this new species that they baptized as Yatenavis ieujensiswere found at the beginning of last year, in the La Anita Ranch, Located a few kilometers south of El Calafate, Santa Cruzwhere the Chorrillo Formation.
It’s about a small size birdsimilar to that of a sparrow that belongs to the extinct group of enantiornitesthat, unlike modern birds and like the dinosaurs with whom he lived for many years, did not survive to meteorite that fell on the ground ago about 66,000,000 years and which produced what is known as the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction.
“Although only the distal half of a right humeruswe can know that Yatenavis combines a series of characteristics that make it unique within the enantiornites, and that allow us to assign the remains found not only to a new species but also to a new genus”, recounted Gerardo Álvarez Herrera, first author of the article and CONICET doctoral fellow at the “Bernardino Rivadavia” Argentine Museum of Natural Sciences (MACNBR, CONICET), under the direction of paleontologist Fernando Novas.
In this regard, it is important to note that 70 million years ago the Patagonian environment was very different from today. The Cordillera de los Andes did not exist, and where today plateaus and deserts predominated, there were forests and bodies of water that harbored fish, frogs, turtles, snakes, and huge crocodiles.” added the specialist.
For the researchers, this finding is of worldwide importance since, until now, it was not certain that this group of primitive birds could have tolerated the mild weather that prevailed in the south of the Patagonia at the end of the Cretaceous.
“The finding of the Yatenavis demonstrates that Some of these birds were found to be well adapted to withstand temperatures lower than those of the tropics, where there was a great diversity of enantiornites.”, affirmed the CONICET scientist.
Based on this discovery, the research team will try to obtain as much information as possible about how were the last 5,000,000 years of the history of dinosaurs in the southern hemispheregiven that the little that is known up to now of that millennial epoch comes from fossiliferous localities Delaware USA which are located in the vicinity of the Chixulub craterMexico, where 66,000,000 years ago the meteorite that extinguished them fell.
“The findings in the Chorrillo Formation constituting a treasure which, for the first time, allows us investigate what happened to the dinosaurs and other extinct species in the extreme south of our continent, and contrast it with what is known from the north”, Álvarez Herrera concluded.
both the Fossil remains of this new and thousand-year-old species of Patagonian bird, like the other fossils that were found at Estancia La Anita, are already in the Padre Jesús Molina Museum, in Río Gallegos, Santa Cruz, for study and subsequent exhibition.