Copyright www.villaelchocon.org.ar © 2006. From:
Long before the Andes rose out of the Pacific Ocean, long before there were "Pampas" in Argentina, huge dinosaurs rumbled across Patagonia.
In those days, the now arid Patagonian steppe was a lush humid place with swamps and forests. Warm and well watered, it was home to some of the world's greatest dinosaurs:
For instance the Giganotosaurus carolinii (Giant Southern Lizard). This carnivore was larger than the famous Tyrannosaurus rex and was unearthed at El Chocón in 1993. More remains were discovered in 2000 by Dr Philip Currie; they belonged to a beast 15 m (45 ft.) long from snout to tail, weighing nearly nine tons.
Big carnivores mean big prey. Patagonia had the world's larges herbivore dinosaurs, the Argentinosaurus huinculensis. These creatures which lived 90 million years ago measured nearly 40 m (130 ft.) long, was 8 m (26 ft.) tall and weighed 90 tons.
Their tracks can be seen at El Chocón's "Valle de los dinosaurios" (Dinosaur Valley) which in 1997 was declared a National Historic Site.
The small village of El Chocón is located 77 km (48 mi.) from the city of Neuquén, the capital of Neuquén Province in north western Patagonia (1,200 km - 745 mi. from Buenos Aires).
Many of these fossils which were discovered by chance, when a local happened to come across them in the open countryside. This makes me wonder if the natives, also found these giant bones and wove myths about them.
Further reading: go Here, the BBC's "Extreme Dinosaurs" which transcribes a program on these Patagonian giants.
 Municipality of Villa el Chocón.
Copyright 2009 by Austin Whittall ©