General Cepeda

The Mexican northeast has a little known wealth in its paleontological and archaeological vestiges. Fossils of millions of years coexist with the utensils and the art samples elaborated by the first inhabitants of the country. Today, however, there is a long way off for the authorities to rescue and preserve the nation’s cultural heritage. The Zetas and the Gulf Cartel have already identified this unusual vein as an illicit business.

The area belongs to the municipality of General Cepeda, in Coahuila, Mexico, and is part of the largest dinosaur cemetery in America; more than 65 million years ago, in the Late Cretaceous, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas were under the sea and Coahuila was on the coast.

Experts point out that mammals and birds appeared in that era. Predators known as plesiosaurs were abundant in these seas, whose skeletons can be found in many places in this now semi-desert area.

An hadrosaurus’ tail is a considered a true landmark in the findings at General Cepeda, since it is the first that is found totally articulated.

The experts at INAH and UNAM worked since the first days of July. After almost a month, they managed to unearth the tail vertebrae, which remains complete and has a length of five meters. They have also recovered long bones as well as parts of the dinosaur hip bones.

The skeleton was found in early May 2005 by Jose and Rodolfo López Espinoza, a couple of local amateur archaeologists. The INAH knew about the discovery around June 2012, and  elaborated a “rescue project” approved by the Institute’s Archaeological Council.

The paleontological and archaeological “rescue zones” that INAH wanted to study – in Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas states – are within the influence areas of the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas. In addition to General Cepeda,  there were recently found fossil deposits in the municipalities of Vallecillo, China, Aramberri and Mina in Nuevo León, Mexico.

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