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Scientists unearth 220 million-year-old dinosaur fossils in Argentina

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By Agence France-Presse

A site containing the 220-million-year-old fossilized remains of nearly a dozen dinosaurs has been discovered in western Argentina, researchers said Wednesday.

Handout photo released by the Institute and Museum of Natural Sciences (IMCN) of the San Juan University, of a 220-million-year-old fossil at the Ischigualasto National Park in San Juan provice, Argentina on April 10, 2019. - A 220-million-year-old dinosaur cemetery was discovered in the west of Argentina, with fossils of at least ten individuals, announced a scientific source on April 17, 2019. (Photo by HO / IMCN / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

Handout photo released by the Institute and Museum of Natural Sciences (IMCN) of the San Juan University, of a 220-million-year-old fossil at the Ischigualasto National Park in San Juan provice, Argentina on April 10, 2019. (Photo by HO / IMCN / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

“There are almost ten different individuals, it’s a mass of bones, there’s practically no sediment,” said Argentinian paleontologist Ricardo Martinez.

“It’s very impressive.”

According to Martinez, of the University of San Juan, the fossils are approximately 220 million years old, belonging to “an era of which we know little”.

“This discovery is doubly important because there are at least seven or eight individuals of dicynodonts, the ancestors of mammals, the size of an ox,” he said.

He said there were also remains of archosaurs, reptiles that could be the ancestors of great crocodiles “that we do not know about yet”.

The find was discovered in September last year in San Juan province, about 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) west of Buenos Aires.

The site is between one and two meters in diameter and about the same depth, leading scientists to speculate it was a former drinking hole at a time of great drought, and the creatures died of weakness at the spot.

Argentina has been a rich source of fossils from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous eras over the years — most, of creatures not found in the northern hemisphere.

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