San Pedro: hallan restos de un megaterio de un millón de años

Son piezas fosilizadas del mamífero terrestre más grande que habitó el Pleistoceno de la región pampeana. Estaban a 5 km de San Pedro.

 

Los restos de un tremendo animal de unas cinco toneladas de peso, unos cinco metros de largo y con garras que intimidaban a cualquier oponente, acaban de ser hallados en San Pedro por personal de la Empresa Tosquera San Pedro, de la familia Iglesias.

En efecto, días atrás el maquinista Ezequiel Giorgi y Gustavo Iglesias, propietario del lugar, se sorprendieron al ver que unos huesos enormes habían quedado expuestos por el accionar de la excavadora que trabaja en la cantera “Mocoretá”, a unos 5 km de la ciudad.

De inmediato dieron aviso al equipo del Museo Paleontológicode San Pedro, quienesactuaron rápidamente para evitar que se perdieran las piezas halladas. De esta forma,José Luis Aguilar, Julio Simonini, Walter Parra, Jorge Martínez y Augusto Moleón, lograron recuperar tres arcos costales, algunasvértebras, escápulas fragmentadas y un radio completo del gran animal.

Los megaterios (Megatherium americanum) fueron grandes perezosos terrestres, herbívoros, con un cuerpo muy masivo y una cola robusta que utilizaban como apoyo al pararse sobre sus patas traseras para alcanzar las hojas y brotes más altos. Habitaron la llanura pampeana deambulando entre pastizales y bosques que cubrían la región, casi sin depredadores. Al menos, los individuos adultos y sanos, debido a su gran tamaño. Su boca poseía molares cuadrados con su superficie de masticación en forma de ´bisel´ donde los de arriba encastraban en los de abajo y de esa forma podían triturar la vegetación de la que se alimentaban. Tenían manos muy poderosas, con gruesas garras que les permitían quebrar ramas o utilizarlas como armas de defensa.

Este ejemplar hallado en San Pedro convivió con osos gigantes, armadillos de 4 metros y 1200 kilogramos, cánidos prehistóricos y muchos otros géneros de mamíferos que conformaron una abundante fauna presente en una serie de pantanos existentes en la zona que estuvieron actuando como trampas naturales a finales de la edad Ensenadense, en la zona. Hoy, esas capas están a unos 8 o 9 metros bajo el nivel actual de suelo.

Este ejemplar, por provenir de un estrato cuya antigüedad ronda el millón de años, “nos permite seguir la presencia de estos animales en la zona durante un tiempo muy prolongado”, comentan desde el Grupo Conservacionista de Fósiles, equipo fundador del Museo Paleontológico “Fray Manuel de Torres”.

Desde la Universidad Nacional de Rosario, el Dr. Luciano Brambilla, del Centro de Estudios Interdisciplinarios de la UNR y estrecho colaborador del museo de San Pedro, agrega que “Los restos hallados se agregan al conjunto de fósiles de megaterios muy antiguos  (de edad Ensenadense) que vienen rescatándose en San Pedro. Los representantes de estos animales con una antigüedad que ronda el millón de años, son bastante desconocidos para la ciencia, por lo que el conjunto de fósiles de San Pedro contribuirá al entendimiento de la anatomía y evolución de estos grandes animales extintos.”

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