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The specimen was found in an excellent state of preservation.
Remains of the most complete fossil deer in Argentina, where it lived 126,000 to 8,500 years ago, were found near the Buenos Aires city of San Pedro, reported the Science, Technology and Society Agency (CTyS) of the National University of La Matanza (Unlam).
Paleontologists rescued about 70 percent of this animal from the Lujan Age, including teeth, part of its limbs and articulated spine, from which they will date in the laboratory to determine its age.
The director of the Paleontological Museum of San Pedro, José Luis Aguilar, found these fossils a few weeks ago when he was conducting a survey at the Campo Spósito site, located east of the San Pedro party.
In this area, crossed by a system of streams and streams, 24 species of mammals and reptiles of different sizes have been found in the last 17 years, the report says.
“ The first thing I could see was a fragment of one of the femurs,” Aguilar said, saying that, the next day, he returned with the Museum team and, after a week of work, they managed to “rescue much of the body of this deer belonging to the genus Morenelaphus, of which only had known fragmentary remains until now.”
The team that carried out the rescue tasks in Campo Spósito was also composed of Matías Switun, Julio Simonini and Gabriel Tettamanti.
“ The specimen has an excellent state of preservation and will be identified from its teeth” and “cranial and postcranial elements, which is a novel feature since fossil deer historically identify themselves by their antlers,” said researcher Germán Gasparini (Museum of La Plata - Conicet)
This type of finding “provides the possibility of conducting research with a comprehensive approach”, in which Dr. Nicolás Chimento and researchers from Brazil, Spain and the United States will also participate, he said.
Gasparini pointed out that these specimens could reach an estimated weight comparable to the living species of the red deer, up to 200 kilos.
“ It was a medium to large herbivore animal, which became extinct along with all the megammals and a large number of large mammals some 8,000 years ago,” he said, “not being able to overcome the alterations” in the vegetation due to “successive climatic changes” and the arrival of the human being”.
Chimento explained that they now compare these fossils “with extinct and current genera” and that they observed “fairly clear differences that will allow to infer details of their diet, size” and other aspects.
“ It's amazing to see how his spine and neck stayed articulated in 'living position',” Aguilar said, adding: “Undoubtedly, this little animal comes to tell us details of a moment in our prehistory where the atmosphere he inhabited was quite different. to the current one”.
Publication Date: 14/01/2019
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