San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Mexico
San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Mexico

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News Article | February 18, 2017
Site: www.scientificamerican.com

Last April, in my final post for National Geographic, I wrote about a new, as-yet-unnamed horned dinosaur found in Mexico. I thought it was the perfect foil for a send-off, highlighting how we truly are in the golden age of dinosaur discovery. Now, less than a year after that paper by Hector Rivera-Sylva and coauthors was published, that dinosaur has a name. The horned dinosaur has been dubbed Yehuecauhceratops mudei. It's one of several mysterious species uncovered across northern Mexico in the last decade, and its timing really couldn't be better. Yehuecauhceratops, Rivera-Sylva and colleagues write, is a close relative of Nasutoceratops from Utah - itself only named in 2013 - and joins a growing family of these long-horned, deep-snouted dinosaurs that stretched from Alberta to Coahuila. More and more, it seems that western North America saw an explosion of horned dinosaur species during the Late Cretaceous. This fits a broader pattern of dinosaur evolution at the time. If you were to survey the dinosaur fauna spread from Alaska to Mexico between 80 and 70 million years ago, you'd see a changing roster of horned dinosaurs, tyrannosaurs, hadrosaurs, ankylosaurs, and more in their own little geographic pockets. It'd be perfect for filling out your dinosaurian life list. But the question is why. Isolation is key to this kind of evolutionary divergence. Something was separating populations of dinosaurs, allowing them to evolve into dramatically different forms in various places throughout western North America. Perhaps there were geographic barriers, as stark as an impassible floodplain, or maybe the particular diets of dinosaurs kept them pinned to limited ranges. No one knows yet. But every new species helps outline this grand evolutionary pattern, and Mexico is increasingly adding to the record. As Rivera-Sylva and coauthors sign off their paper, "Although the ceratopsian material known from Northern Mexico is currently rare and mostly fragmented, there is an evident potential to discover more and better preserved specimens in the near future." There are more horned faces we have yet to meet. Meaning: Yehuecauhceratops is a combination of the Nahuatl word for ancient and the Greek word for horned face, while mudei honors the Museo del Desierto in Coahuila, Mexico. Where in the world?: La Salada, Mexico. What sort of critter?: A horned dinosaur related to Nasutoceratops. How much of the organism’s body is known?: A partial skull, left scapula, left femur, parts of the hips, a vertebra, ribs, and fragments. Rivera-Sylva, H., Frey, E., Stinnesbeck, W., Guzmán-Gutiérrez, J., González-González, A. 2017. Mexican ceratopsids: Considerations on their diversity and biogeography. Journal of South American Earth Sciences. doi: 10.1016/j.jsames.2017.01.008 The Light-Footed Lizard The Maoming Cat Knight’s Egyptian Bat The La Luna Snake The Rio do Rasto Tooth Bob Weir's Otter Egypt's Canine Beast The Vastan Mine Tapir Pangu's Wing The Dawn Megamouth The Genga Lizard The Micro Lion The Mystery Titanosaur The Echo Hunter The Lo Hueco Titan The Three-Branched Cicada The Monster of Minden The Pig-Footed Bandicoot Hayden's Rattlesnake Demon The Evasive Ostrich Seer The Paradoxical Mega Shark The Tiny Beardogs The Armored Fish King North America's Pangolin The Invisible-Tusked Elephant The Mud Dragon The Spike-Toothed Salmon The Dream Coast Crocodile Buriol's Robber Ozimek's Flyer The Northern Naustoceratopsian The High Arctic Flyer The Tomatillo From the End of the World The Short-Faced Hyena The Mighty Traveler from Egg Mountain Keilhau's Ichthyosaur


Fuchs D.,Free University of Berlin | Stinnesbeck W.,University of Heidelberg | Ifrim C.,University of Heidelberg | Giersch S.,Staatliches Museum fur Naturkunde | And 2 more authors.
Palaontologische Zeitschrift | Year: 2010

A new vampyropod coleoid from the Cenomanian limestones of Coahuila (Mexico) is described. Glyphiteuthis rhinophora n. sp. is classified as a member of the Trachyteuthididae because of its general gladius morphology. Within the genus Glyphiteuthis, Gl. rhinophora n. sp. is unique by its nose-shaped extension of the anterior median field extremity. The ventral gladius surface reflects the dorsal surface and lacks evidence of a phragmocone, so affiliations with sepiids are unlikely. Gl. rhinophora n. sp. represents the first Cenomanian record of a vampyropod coleoid in the New World and the first evidence of the genus outside the Tethyan and Boreal realm. The paleoenvironment indicates a nektonic lifestyle for Gl. rhinophora n. sp. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.


Rivera-Sylva H.E.,Museo del Desierto | Carpenter K.,Utah State University | Carpenter K.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Aranda-Manteca F.J.,Autonomous University of Baja California
Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Geologicas | Year: 2011

Nodosaurid ankylosaur remains from the Upper Cretaceous of Mexico are summarized. The specimens are from the El Gallo Formation of Baja California, the Pen and Aguja Formations of northwestern Coahuila, and the Cerro del Pueblo Formation of southeast Coahuila, Mexico. These specimens show differences from other known nodosaurids, including an ulna with a well developed olecranon and prominent humeral notch, the distal end of the femur not flaring to the extent seen in other nodosaurids, and a horn-like spine with vascular grooves on one side. The specimens represent the southernmost occurrences of nodosaur remains in North America, and provide an important biogeographical link between nodosaurids of the United States and Canada on the one hand, and Argentina and Antarctica on the other.


Vogt M.,University of Heidelberg | Stinnesbeck W.,University of Heidelberg | Zell P.,University of Heidelberg | Kober B.,University of Heidelberg | And 7 more authors.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2016

Here we provide a detailed description of the upper Campanian sediment succession at Las Águilas, southern Coahuila, northeastern Mexico, including the first absolute age dating for this interval, paleoenvironmental reconstructions and taphonomic observations on the abundant dinosaur remains at the locality. Stratigraphic investigations of the dinosaur-bearing succession at the Las Águilas vertebrate fossil area near Porvenir de Jalpa reveal a diverse vertebrate assemblage, including dinosaurs, crocodilians and turtles. New findings in adjacent sites include eusuchian crocodylomorphs, four different kinds of turtles, dromaeosaurids, lambeosaurines, pterosaurs and elasmosaurid plesiosaurs. Strontium isotope measurements on fossil oyster shells provide an absolute age of 73 ± 1 Ma for the lower part of the Las Águilas section. The locality is thus of late Campanian age. The vertebrate, invertebrate and plant materials as well as the sediment structures observed in a 50 m thick predominantly siliciclastic succession of the Cerro del Pueblo Formation suggest deposition in an extensive delta plain environment. The facies succession indicates a short-termed cyclicity of limnic, brackish and shallow marine environments during the late Campanian-early Maastrichtian Cerro del Pueblo Formation with numerous layers containing dinosaur fossil remains. Resumen: Aquí damos una descripción detallada de la sucesión de sedimentos del Campaniano Superior en Las Águilas, sur de Coahuila, noreste de México, incluyendo la primera datación absoluta para este intervalo, reconstrucciones paleoambientales y observaciones taxonómicas sobre la abundancia de restos de dinosaurios en la localidad. Investigaciones estratigráficas de los estratos con dinosaurios en el área fosilífera de Las Águilas cerca de Porvenir de Jalpa revelan un ensamblaje vertebrado diverso, incluyendo dinosaurios, cocodrilos y tortugas. Nuevos descubrimientos en sitios adyacentes incluyen crocodylomorfos eusuquios, cuatro diferentes tipos de tortugas, dromaeosauridos, lambeosaurinos, pterosaurios, y plesiosaurios elasmosauridos. Mediciones de isótopos de estroncio en conchas de ostiones fósiles proveen una edad absoluta de 73 ± 1 millones de años para la parte inferior de la sección de Las Águilas. La localidad es por lo tanto de edad Campaniana tardía. El material de vertebrados, invertebrados y de plantas así como las estructuras sedimentarias observadas en una sucesión predominantemente siliciclástica de 50 m de la Formación Cerro del Pueblo sugieren una depositación en un ambiente de una extensa planicie deltáica. La sucesión de facies indica una ciclicidad de periodo corto de ambientes limnicos, estuarinos y marinos someros durante el Campaniano tardío-Maastrichtiano temprano de la Formación Cerro del Pueblo con numerosos estratos conteniendo fósiles de dinosaurios.Palabras Clave: Las Águilas, sucesión de dinosaurios, Campaniano superior, ambientes deposicionales, Formación Cerro del Pueblo, Coahuila. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Frey E.,Geowissenschaftliche Abteilung | Elgin R.A.,Geowissenschaftliche Abteilung | Stinnesbeck W.,University of Heidelberg | Padilla-Gutierrez J.M.,Coleccion Paleontologica de Coahuila | And 3 more authors.
Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Geologicas | Year: 2012

Here we describe a second nyctosaurid pterosaur from the Late Cretaceous laminated limestone deposits of northeast Mexico. The specimen was discovered in the Múzquiz quarry area in northern Coahuila and comprises an isolated right wing skeleton including the humerus, radius/ulna, carpus, wing finger metacarpus and the proximal segment of wing finger phalanx I. The specimen is likely to be a primarily isolated wing, at least the basal wing finger phalanx of which was complete prior to collection. The specimen is referred to cf. Muzquizopteryx sp. on account of its humerus morphology, which is coincident with that of Muzquizopteryx coahuilensis, although a lack of diagnostic characters at the species level prevents any further identification. Its discovery from the Late Turonian deposits of northern Coahuila near Muzquíz, confirms it as the oldest nyctosaurid discovered to date.


Rivera-Sylva H.E.,Museo del Desierto | Frey E.,Geowissenschaftliche Abteilung
Boletin de la Sociedad Geologica Mexicana | Year: 2011

Here we report on the first mandible fragment of the giant alligatoroid eusuchian crocodyliform Deinosuchus found in Mexico. The specimen comes from Las Jicoteas locality, northwestern Coahuila. It was collected in 2007 by the first author. The fragment is from a left surangular, coming from the mandible of a Deinosuchus between six and seven metres in length.


Rivera-Sylva H.E.,Museo del Desierto | Frey E.,Geowissenschaftliche Abteilung | Guzman-Gutierrez J.R.,Institute Historia Natural Of Aguascalientes | Palomino-Sanchez F.,Instituto Nacional Of Estadistica | Stinnesbeck W.,University of Heidelberg
Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Geologicas | Year: 2011

Diagnostic remains of Deinosuchus have been discovered in the Aguja Formation (Late Cretaceous, late Campanian) near the town of La Salada (northwestern Coahuila, Mexico) and are described here for the first time. The material comprises six teeth and tooth fragments that were found associated with postcranial material such as two osteoderms and a cervical and caudal vertebra and is referred here to D. riograndensis. The association with a variety of herbivorous dinosaurs and trionychid turtles suggest a predator-prey interaction, which is confirmed by the occurrence of a vertebra with a Deinosuchus bite mark. The Deinosuchus remains from La Salada represent the southernmost occurrence of the genus known to date.


Rivera-Sylva H.E.,Museo del Desierto | Hone D.W.E.,University College Dublin | Dodson P.,University of Pennsylvania
Boletin de la Sociedad Geologica Mexicana | Year: 2012

We describe theropod bite marks on the tibia of a hadrosaurine ornithopod recovered northwest of Coahuila, Mexico. Based on the size and shape of the bites, these marks are attributed to a tyrannosaurine. The finding provides support for recent hypotheses on theropod feeding behavior and palaeoecology.


Carbot-Chanona G.,Museo de Paleontologia Eliseo Palacios Aguilera | Rivera-Sylva H.E.,Museo del Desierto
Boletin de la Sociedad Geologica Mexicana | Year: 2011

Here is described the first dinosaur evidence from Chiapas, and also the southernmost evidence of dinosaurs in Mexico. A small theropod tooth, identified as Richardoestesia isosceles, based on its shape and the presence of small denticles on the mesial and distal carinae with rounded outline, was collected in the Ocozocoautla Formation (Late Cretaceous, Maastrichtian). These results extend the fossil record of this taxon in North America, as it is the southernmost record of Richardoestesia and the first report of this genus in Mexico.

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