MIRAMAR. Recently, a team of researchers announced the identity of the species that left its tracks with other prehistoric creatures in the Buenos Aires town of Miramar, one of the most important locations in paleontological matter worldwide.
The fossil footprints of rodents in South America are scarcely known by paleontologists, since for their preservation certain environmental characteristics must be given, as well as their subsequent visualization in paleontological sites
A group of researchers composed by Cristian Oliva of the Center for the Registration of Archaeological and Paleontological Heritage with headquarters in the city of La Plata, Cristian Favier Dubois of the Archaeological and Paleontological Research Area of the Pampean Quaternary, Faculty of Social Sciences, National University of the Center of the Province of Buenos Aires in Olavarria and its discoverers, Daniel Boh and Mariano Magnussen of the Mu Semen Municipal Natural Science Center Punta Miramar, released preliminary studies on some ancient fossilized footprints, which belonged to a large rodent related to the current capybara, the largest living rodent on the planet, (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris), which they can grow up to 1.30 meters long and weigh 65 kilos, although in the past, more voluminous forms existed.
The presentation to the scientific community of the new materials was made during the VI Archaeological Seminar and VII Regional Paleontological Conference, that took place in the city of Miramar in the month of April of this year. It brought together leading researchers from our country.
"The remains of fossil carpinchos have already been found in this area in layers of more than three million years, mainly jaws and skulls, which are preserved in the Municipal Museum Punta Hermengo of Miramar ", Daniel Boh, head of the institution.
For his part, Mariano Magnussen of the local museum commented," the footprints of this rodent were not alone, since they belong to the Punta Hermengo paleontological site, known worldwide by researchers, where they also recovered the first fossil footprints attributable to a large saber-toothed tiger, also from Macrauchenia, an animal similar to a camel with a trunk and a large bird of the family of the rhea.
Rodent recovered and identified, belong to the icnospecies Porcellusignum conculcator, of which only a handful of findings in America are known. This material contributes notably to the understanding of these rare traces, providing information on their way of life, ecology of the past, etc.
This site, located near the urban area and in the tourist sector of the city of Miramar, a shores of the sea, was in prehistoric times very different. The sea was several kilometers to the southeast, and this sector was a floodplain, fed by a stream that disappeared thousands of years ago. Animals of different species approached the muddy shores, where they left their tracks, which, because they were quickly covered, have managed to preserve themselves to this day.
In addition, the team of the Municipal Museum Punta Hermengo of the city, has been working successfully in the discovery and recovery of paleontological material that appears permanently. In the same site where the traces of this "capybara or prehistoric capybara" were found, fossilized skeletal remains of at least 4 extinct gigantic sloths, of the genus Lestodon, which reached about four meters in length, have been recovered. Hippidion (American horses), toxodontes (similar to hippos and rhinos), Macrauchenia (similar to a camel, but with a long trunk), Notiomastodon (South American elephants), glyptodonts (huge armadillos), rodents, fish and insects, all of them last 100 thousand to 50 thousand years before the present.
It should be noted that these paleontological marials are protected by the national law 25.743 / 03 and by municipal ordinance 248/88 as part of the paleontological heritage of the Argentine Republic and the Municipality of General Alvarado.
New facilities for the museum.
Due to the large number of pieces collected, the Municipal Museum Punta Hermen go can not exhibit and preserve its growing collection, the Municipality of General Alvarado together with the Azara Foundation are finalizing the details of a new and modern building for the area of natural sciences, which will revalue the scientific, cultural, educational level of the institution and it will be a new tourist attraction for the city.