Scientists entering FARC territory identify a new dinosaur species

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New species discovered in Colombia given a name inspired by the peace agreement

Paleontologists have discovered a new dinosaur species in a region controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

According to the findings, the dinosaur, which lived about 175 million years ago, roamed the Serranía del Perijá mountain range in the north of the country with 4 thick legs.

It had a very long neck and a small head and tail.

The new species, which scientists named “Perijasaurus lapaz”, is the second dinosaur known to have originated in Colombia.

According to geologist Daniel Raad of the research team, the first word of the name comes from the Perijá mountain range where the dosil was found, and the second word comes from the peace agreement between the Colombian government and FARC guerrillas in 2016. Lapaz means peace in Spanish.

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The peace agreement signed by the FARC and the Colombian state in 2016 aimed to end the 50-year conflict that has killed 260,000 people.

Raad said that after the peace agreement, they had the opportunity to enter this excavation site, which had been under the control of guerrillas for a long time.

In an interview with El Pais, Aldo Rincón, lead author of the new paper published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, said:

I enjoyed the opportunity to visit Serranía del Perijá after the peace accords. Unfortunately, scientists had not been able to go there for many years.

The story began in 1943

The story of the discovery of Perijasaurus lapaz began in 1943. A geologist from the Tropical Oil Company discovered a large and heavy vertebral fossil near a road between the Cesar and Ranchería river basins.

The fossil was then delivered to the University of California, Berkeley in the US, where it was forgotten for years.

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In 2018, 75 years after its discovery, Rincón and his colleagues received the necessary permits to study the fossil.

Creating a three-dimensional model of the fossil, the team discovered that this dinosaur had unique morphological characteristics and decided to pinpoint and study the exact location where the bone was found.

The team then traveled to the mountain range and stayed in a special training and reintegration zone for former guerrillas now working in ecotourism.

Eventually, the exact spot where the bone was found was discovered and the dinosaur was declared a new species.

Raad explained what they had learned in the region:

“The fossilized vegetation near the spot where the vertebra was found revealed that Perijasaurus lapaz lived in a low-slope forested area on the banks of a river.

 El PaisMichigan Üniversitesi

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