Southeast region, Mexico



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Paleontology and geology

The Precambrian: In the Southeastern Region of Mexico, Precambrian rocks form a basement under younger rocks throughout the region and outcrop in a few places in the south. These metamorphic and igneous rocks date back to 1.0 Ga, recording the presence of ancient volcanic islands, mountain ranges, and ocean deposits. They formed along ancient Gondwana, and the movement of tectonic plates brought them to their present location.

The Paleozoic: In the Paleozoic, much of the Southeastern Region was covered by shallow to deep seas of the continental shelf, slope, and ocean basin along the coast of Gondwana. These seas were home to various invertebrates and fishes. Toward the end of this era, Gondwana collided with Laurentia to form the supercontinent Pangea. The collision generated volcanism, altering many rocks and raising some areas which became covered in forests and wetlands. By the end of the Paleozoic, much of the region had reached its current position, but the Yucatan Peninsula was pushed against what would become the southeastern United States.

The Mesozoic: Pangea rifted apart in the Mesozoic, leaving some rocks from Gondwana in the western part of this region. To the southwest, subduction added new land to the continental margin, causing volcanic eruptions and altering many rocks. The Yucatan Peninsula broke away from the ancient southeast United States and reached its current location. Dinosaurs and other animals inhabited the forests and swamps that covered the land, and the seas were filled with various invertebrates and fishes. By the end of the era, shallow seas flooded in from the Gulf of Mexico, and a huge meteor crashed into the Yucatan, altering the landscape and possibly contributing to the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction.

The Cenozoic: In the Cenozoic, the Southeastern Region was pushed up and the seas drained away. Subduction continued in the southwest, forming masses of granite below the surface and causing volcanic eruptions. In the Yucatan Peninsula, fresh water started to dissolve limestone deposits, creating caves, cenotes, and underground rivers. Animals from both North and South America inhabited the forests and grasslands that covered the land. Times of higher sea level are marked by marine deposits and fossilized coral reefs along some coasts.

Links to more on Southeast region paleontology

Organizations | Research and Collections | Resources


Societies and Clubs (showing 1 of 1 listings)

Sociedad Mexicana de Paleontologia A.C.: Information on the organization's history, membership, publications, etc.

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Museums (showing 3 of 3 listings)

Museo do Historia Natural "José Narciso Rovirosa": This Tabasco museum has some dinosaur skeletons on exhibit.

Museo de Historia Natural, Yucatan: This museum has exhibits on the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras as well as a nice collection of fossil ammonites and gastropods from the Yucatan.

Instituto de Historia Natural y Ecología Museo do Paleontología: This museum, founded in 2002, has collections of fossils primarily from the state of Chiapas.

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Research and Collections

Researchers (showing 1 of 1 listings)

Paleontology in Oaxaca, south of Mexico: Activities and research interests of the paleontologists from Universidad del Mar, Oaxaca.

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History of Paleontology (showing 2 of 2 listings)

The Importance of Fossils: A short history of paleontology in Mexico written in May 2000.

Dinosaurios en México: A history of dinosaur discoveries in Mexico.

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General Reference (showing 3 of 3 listings)

Dinosaurios Mexicanos: A 1998 description of Mexican dinosaur discoveries, with a focus on Coahuila.

Equinodermos fósiles de México: An examination of the known fossil echinoderms from Mexico.

Los Dinosaurios en México: A paper describing the abundance, diversity and conservation status of fossil remains of dinosaurs discovered in the northern states of Mexico, especially during the nineties.

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Northeast Mexico Region Map
Southwest Mexico Region Map

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