(Photo : REUTERS/INAH/Handout via Reuters)
Mexican paleontologists say they have uncovered a full dinosaur tail in the northern desert of Coahuila state, which lies on the border with the United States, across the Rio Grande river from Texas.
Officials at the National Institute of Anthropology and History said the tail is made up of about 50 vertebrae, measures an estimated 15 feet long and resembles that of a hadrosaur, or crested duckbill dinosaur, which researchers say once roamed the regions now known as the North American continent, Europe and Asia.
An institute spokesperson indicated in a report by the Associated Press the find is believed the first full tail of its kind discovered in Mexico.
Paleontologist Felisa Aguilar told reporters that, based on initial analysis, the dinosaur appears to have been roughly 36 feet long and lived about 72 million years ago.
According to a report posted on the United States National Park Service Website, hadrosaurs first appeared during the Cretaceous period, near the end of the Age of Dinosaurs.
Based on their teeth, which were many but small and leaf-shaped, hadrosaurs, believe paleontologists, were herbivores --- plant eaters.
The dinos ranged in size from about 10 feet to 40 feet long and weighed up to 3.5 tons.
The hadrosaur's feet had three toes, covered in a hoof-like material.
Hadrosaurs were able to walk (or run, in case another meat-eating dinosaur was near) on their large muscular hind legs, although the creature looks to have occasionally used all four legs when it was grazing for food.
Its long, thick tail helped the hadrosaur balance while running, and without spikes, plates, teeth or any other accouterments to defend themselves, the creature probably relied greatly on its keen senses of sight and smell to detect dangers and then its legs to move away from trouble fast.
The excavation took nearly three weeks, in the municipality of General Cepeda.
The paleontologists, working with Mexico's National Autonomous University, also found hip bones.