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article imageVenezuela uncovers their own 'Jurassic Park'

By Andrew Ellis     Sep 6, 2013 in Science
No, the new Jurassic Park movie is not being filmed there, but what paleontologists found buried in the ground of Venezuela would fit right into one of the movies: a Volkswagen-sized armadillo, a crocodile larger than a bus, and a saber-toothed tiger.
According to a recent Huffington Post article, when oil companies surveyed the soil, they unearthed many fossils ranging from 14,000 to 370 million years in age.
Right now, a small office at the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research is home to many of the 12,000 recorded specimens from different eras.
What has been found may be spectacular, but Ascania Rincon, the head of the institute's Laboratory of Paleontology, is already focused on his next goal, according to PYS.org. He is looking for proof of prehistoric human life in the same place.
“We are close. You have to keep exploring the area. We have already found spearheads. What's lacking is reliable indication that man hunted the megafauna that we are finding. And lacking are human fossils.”
Venezuela, located in northern South America, has a very complex geological structure that has it swimming in oil deposits that have kept artifacts from life long before our time preserved, according to the Hinduston Times.
The fossils that were found during the surveys included a chicken without feathers that looked like an iguana, a 10-foot (three meter) pelican, and giant sloths that lived on land 12 million years ago.
The Huffington Post article said that it can take years to prepare a fossil to be classified. It took experts four years to identify a saber-toothed tiger after it was originally discovered. It is part of the collection that has been named Homotherium venezuelensis.
The process, described by PHYS.org, requires that once the fossil is found, trained professionals must remove the sediment, transport it, and wash it, and then carefully compare it to existing specimens.
PHYS.org also reported that the institute will announce in September the discovery of a new species that was found in the remote area of the country. Rincon didn't reveal the whole surprise, but gave a little hint.
“Imagine a puzzle of 5,000 pieces and you have 200 pieces you are trying to interpret and draw a conclusion that might contribute something to science,” Rincon said.
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