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Jurassic Park-Neuquén



In the last year, Neuquén Basin in northern Argentine Patagonia was the site of internationally acclaimed fossil finds. (dakosaurus andenisis, and nequenraptor argentinus). At one site near Lago Barreallos, investigators have made more than 60 significant finds in recent years. Whether you’re a scientist, archeologist, or just a dinosaur enthusiast, these discoveries mean a visit to Argentine Patagonia can be a visit to a real Jurassic Park (or Cretaceous Park).



If you like to see Guinness World Record holders with your own eyes, visit the small museum in Villa El Chocón, where you will find the fossilized skeletons of the world’s largest herbivores and carnivores (dinosaurs of course!). The fossilized remains of giganotosaurus carolinii, the largest carnivore, was found near Villa El Chocón in an area that had been a lagoon. Argentinosaurus, the largest herbivore and largest known dinosaur, was located by staff of the Carmen Funes Musuem. While you are in El Chocón, visit Cretaceous Valley or take a short drive to see dino footprints alongside Lake Mexia.



Neuquén also harbors hundreds of long-since abandoned dino-egg clusters. Discovered by Rodolfo Coria and his team, the find marks a number of firsts: the first dinosaur embryos to show fossilized skin, the first known embryos of the giant plant-eating sauropod dinosaurs, the first dinosaur embryos found in the southern hemisphere, and the largest dinosaur nesting site ever discovered. You can view an exhibit on the eggs at the Carmen Funes Municipal Museum in the capital of the province at the Centro Cultural Plaza Huincul.



At one site in Lago Barreales, investigators made so many finds they moved the museum lock, stock and barrel to the site. Guests can observe the work at the site, where they can learn about preservation and investigation techniques inside the center, and even sign up for a short work trip in the field. Look for the Dino Project at Centro Paleontológico, Lago Barreales.



If you cannot make it to the more remote Neuquén, visit the Museo Egidio Feruglio in Trelew or the Museo de Ciencias Naturales de La Plata in the city of the same name, or head to the Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales, Buenos Aires. Any one of these collections gives a taste of why paleontologist James Kirkland says that Argentina is one of the top three most important dinolandias in the world.

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