Fossil-Hunting in San Miguel

The best area for exploring Mesoamerican sites in San Miguel de Allende runs from the border of colonia San Luis Rey out to Las Canas, a community on the road to Dolores Hidalgo behind Los Labradores.  This same area features an abundance of fossils giving insight to what the San Miguel de Allende area was like before ancient man sashayed about.

Apparently way back then we had an abundance of water which hosted lots of plants that were eaten by large animals.  Mastodons, giant sloths weighing up to 6 tons, SUV-sized armadillo ancestors weighing up to 2 tons, giant rats and mammoths skulked about leaving behind their enormous bones.

Also, according to fossils, horses were the most abundant animal in the area 10 million years ago though they became extinct here were reintroduced to the area by the Spanish much later.

Today’s coyotes can trace their family trees to the San Miguel de Allende area.

Also found in fossils is an antelope-like creature that left behind enough teeth for scientist to label the area with the most adolescent and elderly of the breed.

You know what an abundance of fossils attracts?  Archeologists and bone thieves.  It is believed at least 2,000 fossils have been stolen from San Miguel de Allende despite up to $11,000 USD in fines plus up to ten years in prison if caught.

In addition, bones have been used for ages to make ointments and teas for pain relief and curing diseases.

San Miguel de Allende hosts the most complete fossil record in all of North America due to the number of species already identified and thousands believed to be uncovered. The period to which these remains belong is the Late Tertiary, which ranges from 1.8 to 23 million years ago.

When my brother, Mike, was a child he found a fossil in Pennsylvania he donated to a science museum.  Apparently the news item was picked up by Charlie Tuna’s team, of StarKist advertising fame, and he got a signed photo of Charlie and several cans of tuna.  Who knows?  Maybe if you dig up some fossils and donate them, Charlie Tuna will reward you too!

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