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Dinosaurs and Other Reptiles from the Mesozoic of Mexico

Dinosaurs and Other Reptiles from the Mesozoic of Mexico

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Dinosaurs and Other Reptiles from the Mesozoic of Mexico

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5/5 (1 rating)
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452 pages
6 hours
Released:
Apr 15, 2014
ISBN:
9780253012715
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This overview of dinosaur discoveries in Mexico synthesizes current information about the geography and environment of the region during the Mesozoic when it was the western margin of the ancient continent of Pangea. The book summarizes research on various groups, including turtles, lepidosauromorphs, plesiosaurs, crocodyliforms, pterosaurs, and last but not least, dinosaurs. In addition, chapters focus on trackways and other trace fossils and on K/P boundary (the Chicxulub crater, beneath the Gulf of Mexico, has been hypothesized as the site of the boloid impact that killed off the dinosaurs). Dinosaurs and Other Reptiles from the Mesozoic of Mexico is an up-to-date, informative volume on an area that has not been comprehensively described until now.

Released:
Apr 15, 2014
ISBN:
9780253012715
Format:
Book

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Dinosaurs and Other Reptiles from the Mesozoic of Mexico - Indiana University Press

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Dinosaurs and other Mesozoic reptiles of Mexico have long been underappreciated despite their first discovery more than 100 years ago. The first Mexican paleontological studies were mainly conducted on invertebrates and mammals. Other vertebrates did not draw research attention until recently. The discoveries and subsequent studies of the Mesozoic reptiles from Mexico were driven mainly by foreigners during the 1970s, and later during the 1980s, by Rene Hernandez. The discoveries provided encouragement for others to carry on the research. Many of those are contributors to the present volume.

The book summarizes several years of research from around the country. The first two chapters offer an introductive background on the history of Mexican paleontology and the geology of the country, while the other chapters cover different reptile taxa that have been found. Finally, the last chapter is an account of the extinction at the end of the Mesozoic from a perspective from Mexico. A geographic distribution of these chapters by state is shown on the map. Our intent in this edited volume, Dinosaurs and other Reptiles from the Mesozoic of México, is not to be the last word on the subject, but rather have it trigger more and expanded studies.

0.1.   Map of Mexico showing the distribution of chapters by state. The greatest number of chapters include the state of Coahuila, which reflects the result of more field work, as well as fossil richness; the more fossils found, the greater the taxonomic richness.

Dinosaurs and Other Reptiles from the Mesozoic of Mexico

The Earliest Records

The oldest records for the discovery of prehistoric gigantic bones in what is today Mexico begins with the mythology of pre-Hispanic Aztecs who believed in the existence of giants they called Quinametzin or Quinametin (Maldonado-Köerdell, 1948; see also Mayor, 2005). Later, during the Spanish conquest, some documents chronicle the discovery of gigantic bones. One of these reports was by Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas (1549–1626), who wrote in 1615 about the bones of giants from what are today the Mexican states of Tlaxcala and Yucatán. He also wrote that Hernando Cortés shipped some of the bones to the king of Spain during the first years of the Spanish occupation (Herrera y Tordesillas, 1730; published posthumously).

In 1754, Jesuit father Fray Joseph Torrubia (1698–1761) wrote in his work on the natural history of Spain and its colonies that fossils (petrifactions, as they were called) were organic in origin, which was contrary to the then-accepted explanation of them as games of Nature. He also dissents about what he calls Spanish Gigantology, which documented the existence of a race of giants in both the Old and New Worlds (Torrubia, 1754). These bones were recognized as belonging to fossil elephants as early as 1795. The remains of extinct proboscidians were commonly found during the excavations for buildings and wells. Although Pleistocene and other Late Tertiary mammals are common throughout Mexico, we have no record of dinosaur bones being found at this early date (Anonymous, 1799). Additional fossils from Mexico were mentioned by Don Andrés Manuel del Río (1764–1849) in his Elements of Orictognosy [mineralogy] (Del Río, 1795). Del Rio was a Spanish mineralogist who had studied with Abraham Gottlob Werner and Antoine Lavoisier.

The first report about dinosaurs in Mexico turned out to be an error. In 1840, Wilhelm Mahlmann briefly mentioned the discovery by Carl Degenhardt (a German mining engineer and friend of Baron Alexander von Humboldt) of footprints belonging to great birds at Oiva, which was erroneously stated as being in Mexico, instead of Colombia (Mahlmann, 1840). This error has subsequently confused many workers, who have perpetuated the mistake (e.g., Winkler, 1886; Kuhn, 1963; Thulborn, 1990) and was only recently corrected (Buffetaut, 2000). French geologists M. M. Dollfus and E. de Montserrat of the Commission Scientifique du Mexique made the first authentic report of dinosaurs from Mexico. Their report on the geological reconnaissance of the mining district of Sultepec, now a municipality in the southern state of Mexico, makes reference to some small saurian footprints: in the Barranca of Tisate, there is a whitish tuff, very fine, appearing to be perhaps silica. It is claimed that footprints of small saurians have been found in these tuffs, and we saw also the imprints of leaves and snails … (Dollfus and Montserrat, 1867:479). This report essentially initiates the discipline of vertebrate paleontology in Mexico. About this time, Richard Owen, the creator of the Dinosauria, described the fossil horses from the Valley of Mexico and a fossil llama from Tequixquiac. However, he makes no mention of older vertebrate faunas.

In the mid-1880s, the American dinosaur hunter par excellence (along with his nemesis Charles Marsh) Edward Drinker Cope (1884, 1886) published on the extinct Mammalia of the Valley of Mexico and the Loup Fork Miocene in Mexico. He described Tertiary and Quaternary fossil mammals from the mining districts in the Valley of Mexico. However, he did not explore the Mesozoic strata that generally crop out in the northern part of the country, and so he missed the chance to find dinosaur remains.

In 1869, Mexican geologist Antonio del Castillo wrote his opus Säugethierreste aus der Quartär-Formation des Hochthales von Mexico which is a milestone in the history of Mexican vertebrate paleontology because it is the first paper written by a Mexican paleontologist (the previous publications were all written by European naturalists). In 1888, del Castillo was instrumental in founding the Geological Commission and the Instituto Geológico de México (the National Geological Institute of Mexico). Construction of the Instituto Geológico building was started on July 17, 1900. The building, which is now the Museum of Geology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, was the first building in Mexico designed to house the collections and laboratories of the institute. The façade of the building shows interesting decorative elements comprising high and bas-reliefs of fossil marine fauna, such as ammonites and ichthyosaurs, and of pterosaurs, a fossil vertebrate group that was not discovered in Mexico until recently (see chapter 8). The architect Carlos Herrera López and the geologist José Guadalupe Aguilera Serrano (1857–1941), then the Director of the Instituto Geológico, designed the façade. The building was dedicated on September 6, 1906, during the tenth International Geological Congress, held in Mexico City. Inside the magnificent building are ten large paintings by the great Mexican landscape artist and naturalist José María Velasco (1840–1912), representing the evolution of life through the geological ages, from its origin in the primeval seas to the appearance of humankind. Unfortunately, neither dinosaurs nor marine reptiles appear in any of them. By the turn of the twentieth century, a group of mostly European scientists began publishing on the fossils of Mexico in the institute’s two journals, the Instituto Geológico de México Boletín and Parergones del Instituto Geológico de México. However, nothing appeared on dinosaur fossils.

The Twentieth Century

The first dinosaur or marine reptile bone found in Mexico may have been found by José Guadalupe Aguilera Serrano, director of the Instituto Geológico de México from 1865 to 1912. The report of the discovery was made by Yale paleontologist George Reber Wieland (1865–1953), who wrote that Serrano had previously found in Chihuahua a weathered vertebral centrum attributable to a ‘reptile’ from the beds equivalent to the American Pierre Formation (Wieland, 1910:360). Unfortunately, Wieland does not specify whether this information is based on a publication or a personal communication from Serrano. It is impossible to track down this specimen to determine its identity. The Pierre Formation of the United States is a marine deposit, so the bone may well have belonged to some marine reptile instead of a dinosaur.

In 1921, the German geologist and paleontologist Wilhelm Freudenberg published his book about the geology of Mexico and provided the first record of dinosaur ichnites in Mexico. The locality was in the state of Chihuahua, near the city of Parral. As far as we are aware, historians of Mexican paleontology previously have always mentioned Werner Janensch’s 1926 report as the first published record of dinosaurs from Mexico, rather than Freudenberg’s report. Unfortunately, Freudenberg did not illustrate the specimen, nor can the slab with tracks be found at the Instituto Geológico de México, where it was sent. All that remains is Freudenberg’s (1921:122) description: in 1907 the footprint of a dinosaur in a red sandy shale was found in Parral and was sent to the Instituto Geológico in México. Such tracks are common in the Laramie Formation of the Union.

The first record of a marine reptile from Mexico appeared in a brief work by Wieland (1910), who described a new taxon, Plesiosaurus (= Polyptychodon) mexicanus, from Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca. The specimen consisted of a partial rostrum with teeth that Wieland recognized as the first plesiosaur from Mexico. The specimen was lost for many years but was located by María del Carmen Perrilliat through the suggestion of Héctor Rivera-Sylva in the collections of the Colección Nacional de Paleontología, Instituto de Geología of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. The specimen was restudied by Marie-Céline Buchy (2008), who showed that it was of a thalattosuchian crocodile instead of a plesiosaur.

The first discovery of dinosaur skeletal remains in Coahuila was made by Erich Haarmann (Fig. 1.1), a German geologist traveling in northern Mexico in the early twentieth century. While making a geological reconnaissance of Coahuila state in September 1910 (in the midst of the Mexican revolutionary war), fossil bones (Saurierreste) were found in what he called Soledad-Schichten, which he correlates with the Laramie Formation of the western United States. The discovery was made northeast of Soledad, north of Hacienda de Movano, in a place known as Lomas de Buenavista, in the state of Coahuila. Haarmann reported: Fossils are rare, silicified wood and vertebrate remains were found only in one place in the huge conglomerate. … I had to content myself with picking up the weathered pieces that were not usually pretty well preserved. Unfortunately, there were no teeth, which would facilitate a determination. Eventually, I sent the vertebrate bones to Mr. Henry Schroeder, who kindly took over their investigation and came to the conclusion that it is most probable that they belong to dinosaurs. For an exact identification, collecting more abundant and better material is of course required, but shortage of water in that area makes that difficult, and it is currently impossible because of the revolution. Nevertheless, I hope that one day it will be possible to excavate more material on a larger scale (Haarmann, 1913:26).

1.1.   (Left) Erich Haarmann (1882–1945), German geologist who collected the first dinosaur bones in Mexico (from Geologische Rundschau, 1942). (Right) Werner Janensch (1878–1969), German paleontologist who published the first report on dinosaur fossils from Mexico. Courtesy of the Museum für Naturkunde der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin Historische Bild- u. Schriftgutsammlungen (Sigel: MfN d. HUB, HBSB Bestand: Pal. Mus. Signatur: B I/69).

The fossils found by Haarmann were later transferred to the Geological and Palaeontological Institute and Museum of the University of Berlin and examined by Dr. Werner Janensch (1878–1969; Fig. 1.1) of Tendaguru fame. Janensch (1926) published a brief account of the discovery and described the few remains. The material consisted of (1) a large fragment of right squamosum, (2) a small caudal vertebral body, (3) a large section of a big limb bone (femur?), and (4) two indeterminate fragments. Janensch refers the material to a ceratopsian, probably to the genus Monoclonius (= Centrosaurus) or Triceratops. Re-examination of the bones suggests that they are hadrosaurian instead of ceratopsian (see chapter 10).

During the late 1920s, the great Mexican naturalist Alfonso L. Herrera (1868–1943) was director of the National Museum of Natural History in Mexico City, an institution founded in 1914. Herrera read in an important Spanish encyclopedia (Espasa-Calpe) that the steel entrepreneur and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie had made several replicas of the skeleton Diplodocus carnegii and had donated them to the most important natural history museums in the Western world. Herrera asked for a replica for his museum in Mexico City (Fig. 1.2) but mistakenly thought that the replicas were made of bronze, which he planned to position outdoors near the big lake of the botanical gardens of Chapultepec (Anonymous, 1928). His request was made through the ambassador of Mexico to the United States, Manuel Téllez. The ambassador made the formal petition to Carnegie, who liked the idea and turned the request over to William J. Holland (1848–1932), director of the Carnegie Museum. However, before the installation of the cast in the museum could be completed, Herrera resigned when control of the museum was transferred to the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Rea, 2001).

1.2.   Cast of Diplodocus carnegii at the Museo de Historia Natural de la Ciudad de México as seen during the 1960s. This specimen was the first dinosaur mounted in Mexico (picture by Carlos López Campos, through the courtesy of the Museo de Historia Natural de la Ciudad de México).

While in Mexico City during the installation of the Diplodocus replica, Holland recalled seeing a dinosaur bone on exhibition at the National Museum of Natural History. He wrote, I found in a corner of the museum among the paleontological material the femur of a small dinosaur found in the state of Chihuahua. There are Jurassic deposits in northern Mexico, and possibly elsewhere, and our Mexican friends may find on their own soil some of the huge dinosaurs of the Mesozoic age. Let us hope so (Holland, 1930:86). Holland’s words have proven to be prophetic as seen by recent discoveries (see chapters 9 and 10).

The first known report of dinosaur fossil remains from Baja California was made in 1925. Bone fragments were collected in Cretaceous sediment outcrops some 160 miles south of the American-Mexican border. Unfortunately, it was not possible to identify them due to the fragmentary state of the bones (Morris, 1971).

M. G. Mehl, from the University of Missouri at Columbia, published on a new genus of mosasaur, Amphekepubis johnsoni. The specimen was discovered and collected by Carlyle D. Johnson from Upper Cretaceous concretionary clay cropping out from a locality about forty miles east and a little north of Monterey [sic], in the state of Nuevo León, Mexico (Mehl, 1930:384). The material consisted of nine presacral vertebrae, four of which were articulated; the right and left ilia; the left pubis and part of the right; the left ischium; the left femur; the right and left tibia; the left astragalus and part of the right; the left and right first metatarsal; and the base of the fourth digit and one complete phalanx, as well as parts of other small phalanges. Mehl mentions: It is clear from the condition of the remains that a careful search would reveal other pieces of the specimen (Mehl, 1930:384). Other mosasaur specimens were discovered by the German geologist and paleontologist Friedrich Karl Gustav Müllerried (1891–1952)—known during his stay in Mexico as Federico K. G. Müllerried. Müllerried (1931) recorded the discovery of two partial mosasaurs from a Late Cretaceous locality named Rayón. The site lay north of the Yamesí River, 60 km northwest of Tampico, Tamaulipas. The specimens were deposited in the National Museum of Natural History in Mexico City, but they are presently lost (Reynoso, 2006).

The American geologist Nicholas Lloyd Taliaferro (1890–1961), in his survey of Upper Cretaceous sediments in northern Sonora published in 1933, described the discovery of dinosaur remains: "in the upper part of the Snake Ridge Formation large dinosaur bones were found in greenish, sandy shales not more than 100 feet stratigraphically below the base of the Camas sandstone. Dinosaur bones and teeth were found in greatly baked, dark carbonaceous shales between two rhyolite sills in the gap between the Musteñas and Magallanes Peak. … These were submitted to Mr. Barnum Brown, of the American Museum of Natural History, who very kindly furnished the following information: ‘I have compared these series with our various Trachodonts and are of the opinion that this is an undescribed species. The material, however, is not sufficient for one to find a reliable species. From the teeth I infer this horizon to be comparable in age to the Edmonton Formation of Alberta. It was a large duck-bill dinosaur, equal in size to Trachodon mirabilis. The specimens are especially interesting to me, because it is the most southerly extension of these dinosaurs that has been recorded’" (Taliaferro, 1933:28). Richard Lull and Nelda Wright (1942) in their review of the hadrosaurian records of North America referred to Taliaferro’s discovery as the southernmost record for a hadrosaurian dinosaur.

William Langston and Millis H. Oakes (1954) reported hadrosaur pedal remains from Punta San Ysidro, Baja California, which had been deposited in the Museum of Paleontology at the University of California. The material consisted of two similar-sized specimens that they referred to the genus Kritosaurus.

During 1959, a team of university students under the direction of Clarence O. Durham and Grover E. Murray conducted field work in the Parras Basin in the southeast portion of the state of Coahuila. They reported the discovery of dinosaur remains associated with marine mollusks in the Difunta Group near the village of Hipólito, Coahuila. Subsequently, the locality was re-examined by Grover E. Murray, Donald R. Boyd, James A. Wolleben, and John A. Wilson of the University of Texas. They collected material of at least four different dinosaurs in the area. The specimens were identified by Wilson and Edwin H. Colbert (at that time curator of vertebrate paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History) as belonging to the ceratopsian genus Monoclonius and generically unidentifiable hadrosaurs (Murray et al., 1960).

Colbert later collected the first theropod dinosaur remains consisting of isolated teeth from Baja California in 1960. Other specimens included a hadrosaur mandibular fragment with teeth, a hadrosaur vertebral centrum, and the distal end of a hadrosaur femur (Hilton, 2003). Further collecting in Baja was conducted from 1964 to 1981 by William J. Morris, who led teams from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. They collected specimens of Late Cretaceous dinosaurs at El Rosario and El Gallo, including the giant hadrosaur ?Lambeosaurus laticaudus and the enigmatic theropod Labocania anomala (Morris, 1967, 1972, 1973, 1976, 1981; Molnar, 1974; Hernández-Rivera, 1994), as well as additional fossil remains of tyrannosaurids, ankylosaurids, and dromaeosaurids.

In 1969, the Mexican vertebrate paleontologist Angel Silva-Bárcenas, in his account of Mexican vertebrate fossil localities, published a brief note at the end of his work about the discovery of dinosaur remains. The specimens were found in the Olmos Formation by the coal geologist Jose I. Delgado at Ejido de la Cuchilla, 2 km. east of Palaú, Coahuila (Silva-Bárcenas, 1969). The remains were shown to John A. Wilson, who considered it to be a complete skeleton of a ceratopsian, probably of the genus Triceratops. We were not aware of any other mention of this find, and Silva-Bárcenas does not state whether the specimen was collected and housed in an institution. However, Ruben Rodríguez de la Rosa gave a brief report at a meeting of the Sociedad Mexicana de Paleontología in 2011. He reported that remains of horned dinosaurs were discovered near Palaú, Coahuila, in the 1960s from the coal zone of the Olmos Formation. Wann Langston tentatively referred the material to the ceratopsian genus Chasmosaurus in an unpublished report addressed to the municipal government of Palaú. The identifiable elements consisted of dorsal vertebrae, ilium and ischium fragments, and right appendicular elements, including femur, tibia, fibula, humerus, radius, and ulna (Rodríguez de la Rosa, 2011).

Silva-Bárcenas also reported the discovery of what he determined to be theropod fossil remains including some fragments of rib, vertebrae, and mandibular sections provided with strong conical teeth, the dimensions and morphological features of which correspond to a carnivorous dinosaur. … This discovery is noteworthy and important due to the kind of deposits where the dinosaur fossil remains were found. The strata surrounding Esquiveles, Durango, are lithologically [similar] with the Tendaguru Formation of East Africa than with the Morrison Formation. … Attention is drawn to the fact that these skeletal remains were found in an area extensively studied by several authors, such as Burckhardt (1906, 1912, 1919), Böse (1923), and Imlay (1938, 1939). The latest work about the region corresponds to Peña-Muñoz (1964), but neither refers to dinosaur fossils (Silva-Bárcenas, 1973:290). We presume that the remains reported by Silva-Bárcenas are those of a marine reptile instead of a theropod dinosaur, but because the whereabouts of the specimen is unknown, this cannot be verified pending its rediscovery and re-study.

Ismael Ferrusquía-Villafranca, Shelton P. Applegate, and Luis Espinosa-Arrubarrena from the Geological Institute, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), described in 1978 the Chuta dinosaur ichnofauna from Michoacán state. The tracks included seven morphotypes assignable to bipedal theropods and ornithopod dinosaurs and are probably Middle Jurassic–Early Cretaceous age (Ferrusquía-Villafranca et al., 1978, 1980). In 1980, the men, joined by Victor Torres Roldán, prospected in the Cretaceous sediments in the state of Coahuila in search of Mesozoic mammals. In the city of Torreón they met an amateur fossil collector, Dr. Luis Maeda Villalobos, who had in his collection huge dinosaur bones that he misidentified as belonging to mammoths. The specimens were found in the Ejido Presa de San Antonio, in the municipality of Parras, Coahuila (Applegate, 1988; Espinosa-Arrubarrena et al., 1989). Later, in Saltillo, Coahuila, they met José Rojas, another amateur collector who in 1977 had collected dinosaurs in the Ejido Rincón Colorado, in the municipality of General Cepeda, Coahuila. One of his specimens was an articulated skeleton of a hadrosaur with skin impressions, and another was a ceratopsian. Rojas donated the fossil to the Geological Institute, UNAM (Hernández-Rivera, 1994).

In 1982, at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in Mexico City, Shelton Applegate mentioned to Gordon Edmund of the Royal Ontario Museum finding quantities of dinosaur bone on a recent survey in the state of Coahuila. Edmund and fellow paleontologist Chris McGowan conducted field work during May 1984 in the fossil fields of Coahuila. The work resulted in the discovery of large hadrosaurs, a ceratopsian, a probable ornithomimid, and the crocodile-like reptile Champsosaurus (Edmund, 1985). The following year, a new party from the Royal Ontario Museum made a collection of dinosaur fossils in the locality known as Ejido Presa de San Antonio, Coahuila. Christopher McGowan, Kevin Seymour, Andrew Leitch, and Brian Iwama discovered a partial skeleton of a hadrosaur and a less complete ceratopsian. Theropod material was also recovered (Hernández-Rivera, 1997).

During 1988, a field team led by the Mexican dinosaur paleontologist Rene Hernández-Rivera spent forty days in the Coahuila desert collecting the skeleton of a gryposaurine hadrosaur, previously discovered by Ramón López, a rancher from Ejido Presa de San Antonio. They recovered 60 percent of the skeleton, comprising 218 fossil bones and about 400 other bones belonging to hadrosaurian and ankylosaurian dinosaurs. In June 1992, a replica of the hadrosaur 3.5 m high and 7 m long was mounted at the Museum of the Institute of Geology, UNAM, in Mexico City (Hernández-Rivera, 1997). This skeleton was nicknamed Isauria by a group of schoolchildren who visited the exhibit in honor of one of them, named Isaura. Replicas of this skeleton can be seen elsewhere in museums throughout Mexico.

In 1985, German geologist Walter Haehnel, then on the earth sciences faculty at Nuevo León Autonomous University, described what he erroneously supposed to be remains of a terrestrial dinosaur found encased in two blocks of marine limestone from the La Casita Formation (Upper Jurassic), near the town of Aramberri, Nuevo León. One of the blocks contained seven vertebrae, each measuring 23 cm in diameter, and another block included part of the skull, with some coniform teeth that Haehnel interpreted as belonging to a carnivorous dinosaur.

In the late 1980s, Jack M. Callaway and Judy A. Massare, from the University of Rochester, New York, described shastasaurid ichthyosaur material collected in 1925 by C. L. Baker (chief geologist of the East Coast Oil Company of Mexico) and in 1926 by Charles L. Camp (University of California at Berkeley). The specimens came from the Upper Triassic outcrops of the marine Antimonio Formation, in the El Antimonio district in northwestern Sonora state. Named Shastasaurus altispinus, the material consists of the anterior part of the skull and lower jaw, as well as a block of matrix with vertebrae, ribs, neural arches and spines, and fore-paddle elements (Callaway and Massare, 1989). Possibly three different individuals are represented. These specimens represent the first known occurrence of Triassic ichthyosaurs in Mexico.

In the early 1980s, vertebrate paleontologist James M. Clark from George Washington University discovered fragmentary dinosaur remains in the Early Jurassic deposits of Huizachal Canyon, near Ciudad Victoria, in Tamaulipas state. The diverse vertebrate assemblage includes therapsids, tritylodontids, and a new pterosaur species named Dimorphodon weintraubi. Most of the dinosaurs were identified by isolated teeth and large bone fragments as belonging to ornithischian and sauropodomorph dinosaurs.

In 2006, Regina C. Munter described the skull and postcranial material of an adult theropod dinosaur, previously collected by Clark in 1994 (Munter and Clark, 2006). The specimen consisted of the right half of an articulated sacrum and pelvis, as well as the left posterior section of the braincase. The material had been referred to a coelophysoid close to Coelophysis and Megapnosaurus kayentakatae.

In the early 1990s, a new collaborative project started between the recently created Paleontological Commission of the SEP Coahuila and the Dinamation International Society. The project gave American scientists access to the dinosaur fossil fields of Coahuila and led to international promotion of the dinosaur localities.

The Twenty-First Century

In 2000, the inauguration of the Museo del Desierto in Saltillo, Coahuila, and the foundation of its department of paleontology broadened the possibilities

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