Remains of a rare 3-million-year-old creature found in eastern Argentina

A view of the recently discovered Promacrauchenian.

(With thanks to Daniel Boh, the Municipal Museum of Miramar.)

Researchers in the east of Argentina have discovered the remains of a strange creature that lived three million years ago, about 280 kilometers south of the modern Buenos Aires.

One of the members of the team, Daniel Boh described of the animal, a hervibore mammal, as a mix of a horse and an elephant; as, a camel with a trumpet.”

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Boh, who runs the Stedelijk Museum Punta Hermengo of Miramar, said they are able to determine that the creature of the Promacrauchenian family and lived in the Pliocene, a time ruled by mammals and birds of large size.

This is about 62 million years after the dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

“The discovery is important because there are no previous records of this animal in the area,” said Boh in an e-mail.

“It is rare, so it is of scientific interest and also helps in the understanding of the ecological and geographical changes in the region.”

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The prehistoric mammals, 5.2 metres high and more than 8 metres long; it weighed around 1,100 pounds.

It seems to have had a kind of amphibian skills.

“The short trumpet would serve as a grasping lip (similar to the tapir) is to [allow] remain submerged, and also to the condition of the air, and as an instrument of general use,” said Mariano Magnussen, a technician works on the fossils, the local newspaper Clarin.

He said that it shares many morphological adaptations with the Giraffidae, that are not directly related. Magnussen said this is a result of “an adaptive convergence or parallel evolution.”

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The fossils were found on the side of a cliff, not far from a golf course overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Boh said that they will continue to visit and study the area. “The waves of the sea will continue to erode [the cliff], and is sure to expose is, and remains, that we have not yet seen and are supposed to be,” he told

Researchers had previously recovered several remnants of a more modern instances, the Macrauchenia is popularly known as the “long lama”, who lived until about 8,000 years ago.

The Macrauchenia was found in the days of Darwin, circa 1830,
while the Promacrauchenia was first mentioned in the beginning of the 20th century.

The fossils preserved in the Miramar museum, where they are processed.

“The remains we found are very vulnerable,” Boh said. “[We found] a fragment of a skull, parts of a front leg – such as the phalanges and carp – that allow us to know how it ran or if he ran as a thigh-bone and the vertebrae of the spine.”

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