Record dinosaur tail unearthed in Mexico

Paleontologists in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila reveal a 16-foot dinosaur tail with 50 connected vertebrae intact.

INAH

Buried for up to 72 million years, one of the world's largest intact dinosaur tail fossils is now almost fully visible.

Paleontologists from Mexico's National Institute for Anthropology and History (INAH) and National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) have been brushing away sand and gravel for nearly 20 days, slowly revealing a record 50 connected vertebrae on the 16-foot tail.

The fossil is believed to belong to a hadrosaur, or duck-billed dinosaur, though the exact species is still being determined. The remains were reported to the INAH in June 2012, and excavation began earlier this month.

"For the biological study of dinosaurs this finding is important because we will have a sequence that will reveal the characteristics of the vertebrae. How they will be seen differentiating in size depending on their position in the spine," paleontologist Angel Ramirez Velasco said in a press release.

The dig site is in the small town of General Cepeda, in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila. Now an arid desert rich with fossils, the area was much closer to the coast during the Cretaceous Period.

The excavators also uncovered the dinosaur's hips, and say the rest of its body is likely buried deeper underground.

It's been a big month for dinosaur news, with a new species of dinosaur discovered in southern Utah that's a cousin of the well-known Triceratops but with a huge, bulbous nose and long, curving horns.

This story originally appeared on CBSNews.com.

 

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