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Argentine and foreign paleontologists confirmed that the fossil remains found in the Salado River belonged to an ancestor of the horse.
Argentine and foreign paleontologists confirmed that the fossil remains found in the Salado River, in the Buenos Aires city of Junín, belonged to an ancestor of the horse that inhabited the region 10,000 years ago.
“This is the hippidion, which was more robust and a little smaller than the current horse, similar to a zebra, was one and a half meters high on the legs and, in proportion to its body, had a big head,” José María Marchetto, told Télam the director of the Junín Legacy Museum.
The specialist said that weeks ago they received the visit of paleontologists José Luis Prado, Ricardo Bonini (INCUAPA-CONICET) and María Teresa Alberdi (Natural Sciences Museum of Madrid), who “confirmed the scientific importance of Junín fossils, studied those belonging to animals related to the current horses and elephants, and were able to confirm the existence of a new genus of animal already extinct.”
“We had some fossils of equus neogeus, which is another ancestor of the horse; and we suspected that other remains could belong to the hippidion, and thanks to the collaboration of these three renowned professionals this fact was corroborated,” he said with satisfaction.
In the Salado River, two metacarps (bones of the forelegs) and two molars were found that, now known, belonged to the hippidion, estimated that this animal inhabited Junin 10,000 years ago.
Marchetto explained that the genus Hippidion “came to our continent from North America about three million years ago when the isthmus of Panama connected both Americas.”
“The confirmation of a new genus of extinct animal added by Junín demonstrates the high scientific and cultural value of our paleontological site and the importance of protecting it properly,” Marchetto said.
Last year, the downstream of the Salado River, after the floods that affected that basin in 2017, removed to the surface more than 200 fossil remains of the megafauna that inhabited that region of Buenos Aires and other animals that coexisted with it, such as gliptodontes, saber-toothed tigers; stegomastodon (elephant of the pampas); macrauchenias, Giant sloths like megaterium, equus neogeus, relative of the current horse and very similar to it, toxodon, among many others.
Publication Date: 23/01/2019