Tourist Guide

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Paleontological Tourism

Fossils and marine invertebrates found in the surrounding area of General Roca bear witness to

the existence of dinosaurs in this region. In the north part of the City visitors and tourists can

find a wide variety of marine invertebrate fossils.

The South of the city was a land of dinosaurs. 70 million years ago, an extensive plateau plenty

of organic rests dragged by small rivers was inhabited by dinosaurs. Dinosaurs showed their

splendour in the Mesozoic era. To this geological era belong the avian dinosaurs (bird

ancestors), the Tiranosaurus with long neck and tail, the Teropodus, which was carnivorous,

and the Hadrosaurios and Anquilosaurius, which were herbivorous. At that time, the Alto Valle

was very different; there were marine invasions and small rivers flowing into the Atlantic.

In 1912, the Archaeologist Richard Wichmann found in the area of the Red Moon Valley fossils

of a huge sauropodus, the Antaractosaurus. From that moment on, the place became the first

dinosaur fossil bed in Patagonia.

Dinosaur tracks and fossils resisted the passing of time and many tourist circuits in Paso

Cordoba let the visitor appreciate them. These circuits can be classified into: dinosaur, marine

invertebrate, and mammal fossil circuits.

Geological events from the end of Mesozoic era and the beginning of Tertiary when dinosaur

extinction and mammal diversification began can be appreciated. Another important event which

can be appreciated in the rocks is the Atlantic Ocean invasion, at the end of Cretaceous. The

waters covered most part of the Province of Río Negro and the area became what is known as

the Rocaense Sea. On the ravines resulting from the flood a wide variety of maritime

invertebrate fossils like clams, ammonites, snails, corals, shark teeth and crabs were left by the

sea.

At that time, the world was very different, it was the era of dinosaurs and South America was

gradually separating from Africa. America was a floating island which on its way would meet

Nazca plate, at the end of High Cretaceous to form the Andes Range. An exclusive fauna of

dinosaurs very different from that of North America was the result of the continent isolation and

separation from North America. At the end of the Cretaceous, faunal exchange between the two

continents was evidenced. The formation of the Andes Range brought about a climate and

geomorphologic change in this region, which can be appreciated in the rocks dating back to

more than 70 million years.

 

Paleontological Excursions

The paleontological excursion offers visitors the possibility to travel to the past and reinterpret

the former appearance of the landscapes and their evolution up to this day. The terrain is

analysed and dinosaur fossils, petrified logs, palm tree seeds fossils, mammal remains and

beetle nests fossils can be found in the surroundings.

This excursion is particularly attractive to children, who will be able to experience the work of

paleontologists simulating the finding of fossils. The activity consists of a walk that takes you to

three geographic locations within the area: Red Moon Valley, the bed of a creek and a

paleolake.

 

Interpretive Hiking

The municipal protected area is ideal for the practice of hiking, with the assistance of a guide.

The activity starts at the foot of the Virgen Misionera and through paths that show different

sedimentary beds that have been accumulated in different geological ages. As you walk, you

will be able to interpret the landscape as the history of the flora and fauna of the area is

narrated. The hiking will take you to natural water springs and vantage points that offer the best

and most striking sights of the area.

 

Museo Patagónico de Ciencias Naturales (Patagonian Museum of Natural

Sciences)

The museum is in the modern and large three-floor building located in the centre of the City.

At the entrance of the building you will find the Reception hall and a small stand where

handicrafts are exhibited and sold.

Upstairs you can appreciate a complete and modern didactic circuit of Palentological Geological

and Mineralogical data.

During the visit you will learn about fossils, fossilization and fossilizing materials. You will also

learn about rocks and minerals of the region, which experts consider the best in the country. In

the backyard, the Museum organizes cultural activities and educational programs (such as

“Paleontologists for a day”). On the second floor, there is a wide area for the photo gallery, the

auditorium and a theme pub with a splendid city view.

Children will enjoy the wonderful reproduction of a dinosaur exhibited in this museum.

There are two laboratories. In the “Earth Sciences” lab, experts are working on the restoration

and preparation of paleontological material for research and exhibition. In the “biodiversity” lab,

experts are working in entomology (preparation and labeling of insects) and in micrommals.

Museum hours:

From Wednesday to Saturday from 9 am to 12 pm and from 5 to 9 pm and Sunday from 3 to 10

pm.

You can enjoy a guided tour on request.

Contact: Phone (02941) 420030 – E-mail: fundacionpatagonica@yahoo.com.ar

Address: Avenida Roca 1250

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