Report We are made to run
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Those mountains were an obsession for years.
Nearby, in the Lleida Pyrenees, was the largest deposit of dinosaur eggs in Europe and, therefore, the Aragonese Pyrenees could also hide fossil remains.
The Sierra de Santo Domingo, Carrodilla, Guara, Mallos de Riglos, Turbón ... Those mountains were an obsession for the paleontologists of the research team of the University of Zaragoza who made several expeditions in search of evidence
that hadrosaurids, titanosaurs or nodosaurus also lived there.
But nothing, although the attempts lasted and lasted, they were unsuccessful and some went to work in other countries.
Until last fall, one of the paleontologists in the group,
Jose Manuel Gasca
, he went out for a run around Loarre, 30 kilometers from Huesca, and when he returned, he shared several photos with the group, many photos, what photos! «It was on an outing of about 15 kilometers with the companions of my club, the Alpine Club University of Zaragoza.
At five or six, after a climb, I stopped to wait for some stragglers and saw some levels of clay on the ground that reminded me of dinosaur sites where I worked in Argentina.
I looked for any fossils near the road and discovered dinosaur egg shells.
I started taking photos and more photos.
Nothing like this had ever happened to me, ”says Gasca, now in charge of the largest deposit of this type on the continent. His discovery and his photos encouraged the group to carry out an expedition and at the beginning of this year an in-depth work was already planned in the area by Loarre.
Right now, in an area of 20x30 meters they have already discovered several dozen eggs and are expanding the field study.
The eggs are about 68 million years old, so researchers around the world are watching.
Due to their proximity to the extinction of these animals -estimated 66 million years ago-, everything they find may be useful to continue solving the mysteries about their disappearance. «In Europe this type of deposits are very rare.
In Spain we have in the Lleida Pyrenees, but at the European level there are still very few.
There are countries like Argentina or Mongolia where they are more common, but any discovery of this type is of interest to the entire community, ”says Gasca, who is a paleontologist and a mountain runner, both together, all the time. Although he is a regular of the Long-distance races in the area, with podium finishes on the 105-kilometer Gran Trail Aneto, is no ordinary runner.
Any trail-running lover reserves moments, between stride and stride, to raise his head and observe the landscape;
Gasca does something else.
«My eyes go to the ground out of inertia.
I never look at the landscape, when I don't look at the road, I look at the land out of the way, to see what it is like.
I suppose I always have that vision for my work, "says the professional who already lived a similar discovery more than a decade ago. Then without running, working in Arén, a little further from Huesca, touching Catalonia, he found the fossilized skull of the crocodile oldest in Europe, more than 65 million years old.
"Now I'll have to go running even more," he ends and in effect.
Those mountains were an obsession for years, but you just had to run them.
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