Triassic Parks
Triassic Parks

At the time residence to Triassic reptiles and Inca modern society, northern Argentina is made up of quite a few crucial archeological web pages.

Through the Triassic period (252 to 200 million several years back), northern Argentina was teeming with crocodile- and mammal-like reptiles. The Ischigualasto and Talampaya parks in the area are acknowledged for having one of the most complete recognized fossil records of the Triassic interval. The fossils have been key to comprehending the origins and behaviors of mammals and dinosaurs.

On February 28, 2023, the Average Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite obtained this image of Talampaya and Ischigualasto parks. The two parks jointly protect 275,000 hectares east of the Andes.

The purple-stained, fossil-wealthy Talampaya Countrywide Park is well-known for its 600-ft (200-meter) tall crimson sandstone cliffs and 1,500 calendar year-old petroglyphs. The pink soils of Talampaya distinction with the white and multi-coloured sediments of Ischigualasto Provincial Park. Ischigualasto’s sparsely vegetated landscape has been named Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon).

Just northeast of the parks is the metropolis of La Rioja. It is the cash city of the La Rioja Province, which was conquered by the Inca in the late 15th century. In the late 16th century, the location was settled by Spaniards exploring for gold and silver.

During the Triassic, Talampaya National Park was a volcanically energetic floodplain coated with rivers. The Triassic was a time of changeover from mammal-like reptiles to the age of dinosaurs, which did not happen right until the Jurassic. Substantially of the fossil continues to be located in the Ischigualasto Formation were mammal-like reptiles these types of as dicynodonts and rhynchosaurs, while some have been early dinosaurs. Dicynodonts were stocky like rhinos with tusks in its place of horns and a turtle-like beak. Rhynchosaurs have been explained as a “reptilian pig with a hammerhead, no visible ears, and a parrot-like beak.”

In Talampaya, around its border with the Ischigualasto park, fossils relationship again 250 million a long time presented scientists with evidence of how dicynodonts and rhynchosaurs lived and behaved. Clusters of fossilized dung point out that dicynodonts probably utilized communal latrines. Making use of communal latrines, which is a social habits utilized by rhinos and elephants, was after believed to be limited to mammals. In accordance to the study team that manufactured the discovery, this is the oldest identified fossil history of this conduct.

NASA Earth Observatory graphic by Lauren Dauphin, applying MODIS facts from NASA EOSDIS LANCE and GIBS/Worldview. Story by Emily Cassidy.