As incredible as it may seem, in each layer of fine sediments that were deposited
one by one in the depths of ancient seas and coastal territories, in what today
occupies the territory of the well-known Chihuahuan Desert, they contain
stories from a gigantic book that keeps knowledge of the diversity of the past.
They are proof of the events that occurred in these territories, which are expressed
through the remains and evidence of different animals that were trapped for millions
of years between these substrates.
With a history spanning more than 165 million years, they came to occupy virtually
every habitat available on the continents of their geological time.
Research on dinosaurs now taking place in Mexico has allowed paleontologists to better understand
the environments that existed in southern North America around 70 million years ago.
The Chihuahuan Desert is currently the area with the greatest variety of dinosaur
fossils within the national territory.
The Chihuahuan Desert is a desert ecoregion designation covering parts of
northern Mexico and the southwestern
It occupies much of far West Texas, the middle to lower Rio Grande Valley and
the lower Pecos Valley in New Mexico, and a portion of southeastern Arizona,
as well as the central and northern portions of the Mexican Plateau.
This is due to the peculiar location of this territory 70 million years ago,
time in which in this area there was a system of mouths of mighty rivers,
which in turn caused the development of estuaries, lagoons and marshes.
As are the states of Tabasco and Veracruz today.
The following prehistoric animals were depicted on the stamps:
Coahuilaceratops magnacuerna is a genus of omnivorous ceratopsian dinosaur.
Coahuilaceratops on stamp of Mexico 2023
The dinosaur lived during the Late Cretaceous period
(late Campanian stage - 72.5 to 71.4 million years ago) in what is now
southern Coahuila in northern Mexico, as can be recognized
from the first portion of the generic name (Coahuilaceratops).
The second part of the name, “ceratops,” is Greek for “horned face.”
The specific name magnacuerna combines the Latin word “magna,” meaning “great,” with the Spanish “cuerna,”
meaning “horn,” in reference to the very large supraorbital horncores of this taxon.
Fossils of the dinosaur were discovered in 2001 by school teacher and amateur
paleontologist Claudio de Leon Davila.
De Leon Davila discovered the bones while looking for fossils in the Cerro del Pueblo Formation
in the Ejido Porvenir de Jalpa, General Cepeda, Coahuila.
In 2003 the team from the Utah Museum of Natural History (USA),
the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology (Canada)
and the Desert Museum (Mexico), uncovered fossils of two Coahuilaceratops specimens -
one adult and a juvenile, as well as fish, turtle, crocodile, lizard, snake, and
mosasaur, together with dinosaur eggshell and abundant trackways.
The fossils of Coahuilaceratops were prepared at the Utah Museum of Natural History, requiring two years
of meticulous work by skilled volunteer preparator Jerry Golden.
The Desert Museum is a museum in Saltillo, Coahuila, that promotes an ecological culture.
It was designed by the architect Francisco López Guerra and was inaugurated on 25 November 1999.
It has a large collection of fossils and plants and includes autochthonous animals of the Mexican desert. Coahuilaceratops specimens are permanently housed in the collections of the Museum of the Desert.
Casts of the fossils are reposited in the collections of the Utah Museum of Natural History
in Salt Lake City (USA).
The dinosaur was formally described in 2010 by the team of international scientists
lead by Mark A. Loewen from the Utah Museum of Natural History (USA).
It was the first horned dinosaur from Mexico and
one the first dinosaurs from the country to be named.
In one of his interviews Mark Loewen said:
"We know very little about the dinosaurs of Mexico, and this find increases
immeasurably our knowledge of the dinosaurs living in Mexico during the Late Cretaceous"
Although based on incomplete remains, Coahuilaceratops is thought to
possess among the largest horns of any dinosaur currently known.
The supraorbital horns are about a meter long, the biggest known so far for a
ceratopsian, and a skull is estimated to have been about 1.8 m long.
Even though such horns are common features of ceratopsid dinosaurs, those of
Coahuilaceratops appear to be the largest known for the group, exceeding
the size of eye horns even in Triceratops.
Like other horned dinosaurs, Coahuilaceratops probably
used its headgear to attract mates and fight with rivals of the same species.
Life restoration of Coahuilaceratops magnacuema.
Artwork by Lukas Panzarin.
Image credit: dinonews.net
Coahuilaceratops, rhino-sized creature,
has an approximate length of 6.7 meters and weighed between 4 and 5 tons.
Mark Loewen described the arid, desert terrain where the dinosaur was recovered as
nothing like Mexico during the Late Cretaceous.
About 72 million years ago, the region was a humid estuary with lush vegetation,
an area where salt water from the ocean mixed with fresh water from rivers, much like
the modern Gulf Coast of the southeastern United States.
Many dinosaur bones in the area are covered with fossilized snails and marine clams,
indicating that the dinosaurs inhabited environments adjacent to the seashore.
The rocks in which Coahuilaceratops was found also contain large fossil
deposits of jumbled duck-bill dinosaur skeletons.
These sites appear to represent mass death events, perhaps associated with storms
such as hurricanes that occur in the region today.
U N D E R
C O N S T R U C T I O N
Acantholipan is a genus of ankylosaurian dinosaur (Nodosauridae family) from
Mexico from the early Santonian age of the Late Cretaceous.