In Chile, paleontologists, while examining a prehistoric site in the Gulf of Quintero, discovered a real “time capsule” – a prehistoric swamp, the waters of which preserved thousands of remains of extinct animals.
The opening is reported by Heritage Daily. It was taken on the central coast of Chile during excavations at a prehistoric site called GNL Quintero 1 (GNLQ1). The researchers were lucky, as they found a real “time capsule”.
We are talking about a giant prehistoric swamp formed during the last ice age (about 24 to 17 thousand years ago). At that time, the current maritime zone of the Gulf of Quintero was a large esplanade of wetlands, which extended several kilometers from the current coastline.
The swampy area was not only home to many species of animals, but also became their huge grave. The special properties of soil and water made it possible to preserve the remains of those creatures. As a result, the skeletons of representatives of various species of extinct fauna fell into the hands of scientists, in particular paleolamus, mylodon, horses and American deer, some species of rodents, foxes and otters.
In total, a joint group of archaeologists and paleontologists discovered more than 7,000 skeletal remains. To date, eight species have been accurately identified, which are considered representatives of a large extinct fauna. More than a dozen individuals of small fauna are still in line.
“The great taxonomic diversity is particularly striking, since the group is made up of more than fifteen species,” says Professor Isabel Cartagena, a researcher at the University of Chile, about small marsupials and even remains of reptiles.
The scientists note that the site they excavated is the only known flooded site from the end of the Pleistocene on the Pacific coast of South America. They suggest that the melting of the glaciers happened very quickly. With its thaw, rapidly rising sea levels flooded the esplanade, and the prehistoric bog actually became the seabed.
It is worth adding that for complex underwater field work, the researchers even used a special vacuum cleaner, with which prehistoric deposits were cleaned. And the excavations themselves were carried out in layers. It is also interesting that previously no traces of the presence of primitive human groups were found at the GNLQ1 site. However, a new study, according to Isabel Cartagena, showed: “this site demonstrates the existence of a landscape available for the settlement and mobility of extinct fauna and primitive human groups along the Pacific coast of South America.”