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Discover near San Pedro the most complete specimen of fossil deer in Argentina

The specimen was found in an excellent state of preservation.
Science
14 January, 2019

Remains of the most complete specimen of fossil deer in Argentina, where it lived 126,000 to 8,500 years ago, were found near the Buenos Aires city of San Pedro, the Science, Technology and Society agency (CTYS) of the National University of La Matanza (Unlam) reported.
Palaeontologists 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 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 notes.
“The first thing I could see was a fragment of one of the femurs,” Aguilar said and said that, the next day, he returned with the Museum team and, after a week of tasks, they managed to “rescue much of the body of this deer belonging to the genus Morenelaphus, of which only fragmentary remains were known until now.”
The rescue team in Campo Spósito was also composed of Matías Swistun, 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 are historically identified by their antlers,” said researcher Germán Gasparini (Museo de La Plata – Conicet) This type of finding “provides the possibility of conducting an investigation with an integral approach”, in which also will participate Dr. Nicolás Chimento and researchers from Brazil, Spain and the United States, he said.
Gasparini pointed out that these specimens could reach an estimated weight comparable to the living species of red deer, up to 200 kilos.
“It was a medium to large herbivorous animal, which became extinct together with all megammals and a large number of large mammals some 8,000 years ago,” he said, “unable to overcome the alterations” in the vegetation due to “the 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 us to infer details of their diet, size” and other aspects.
“It’s amazing to see how his spine and neck remained articulated in a ‘life position’, Aguilar said, “Undoubtedly, this little animal comes to tell us details of a moment in our prehistory where the atmosphere he lived was quite different from today.”

Source: Télam

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