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First horned dinosaur from Mexico
Date:5/28/2010

from 97 million to 65 million years ago, high global sea levels resulted in flooding of the central, low-lying portion of North America. As a result, a warm, shallow sea extended from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean, splitting the continent into eastern and western landmasses.

`Dinosaurs living on the narrow, peninsula-like western landmass known as Laramidia occupied only a narrow belt of plains that were sandwiched between the seaway to the east and rising mountains to the west. Central America had not formed at the time, which made Mexico the southern tip of this island continent.

In many ways, the Late Cretaceous is the best-understood time during the Age of Dinosaurs, thanks in large part to more than 120 years of dinosaur hunting in Canada, Montana, New Mexico and the Dakotas. Recent work has revealed new dinosaurs living at the same time in Utah, New Mexico and Texas, yet the dinosaurs from Mexico have remained virtually unknown.

"As the southernmost dinosaurs on Laramidia, we are confident that Mexican dinosaurs will be a critical element in unraveling the ancient mystery of this island continent," Sampson said.

Loewen described the arid, desert terrain where the dinosaur was recovered as nothing like Mexico during the Late Cretaceous. About 72 million years ago, the region was a humid estuary with lush vegetation, an area where salt water from the ocean mixed with fresh water from rivers, much like the modern Gulf Coast of the southeastern United States. Many dinosaur bones in the area are covered with fossilized snails and marine clams, indicating that the dinosaurs inhabited environments adjacent to the seashore.

The rocks in which Coahuilaceratops was found also contain large fossil deposits of jumbled duck-bill dinosaur skeletons. These sites appear to represent mass death events, perhaps associated with storms such as hurrican
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Contact: Patti Carpenter
pcarpenter@umnh.utah.edu
801-585-6369
University of Utah
Source:Eurekalert  

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