New Miocene tortoises and snake fossils from the Tatacoa Desert, Huila; phylogenetic, histological and paleobiogeographical implications

Project: Research Project

Project Details


Colombia is a country recognized worldwide for its current high diversity of fauna and flora; however, its past diversity (paleobiodiversity) and how this relates to the present, remain poorly known. A large part of the problem in the connection between current biodiversity and its historical component is the lack of fossils and of continuous studies on new discoveries that establish their phylogenetic, paleobiogeographic and paleobiological implications. One locality in Colombia and northern South America with importance in solving this problem is the fossiliferous zone of the Tatacoa Desert, in the department of Huila; It is particularly well known for its diverse and abundant vertebrate fauna called La Venta Fauna, which existed during the Miocene, a period during which northern South America underwent geological events that would define the course of evolution and distribution of the current diversity, such as the uplift of the Andes and the configuration of the basins of the great Magdalena, Amazon and Orinoco rivers.

The purpose of this study is to strengthen an ongoing research and in turn contribute to the formation of human capital at the graduate level (Masters), using fossils of tortoises and snakes recently discovered in the northern region of the Tatacoa desert, making their description, systematics, and establishing their phylogenetic, histological and palebiogeographical implications.


Two scientific articles for international indexed journals (one for turtles and one for snakes) in Q1 or Q2 journals, for example: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Journal of Paleontology, or Journal of Herpetology.
A paper in a national or international congress that can be in paleontology topics such as Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Annual Meeting or in Herpetology topics such as Colombian Congress of Herpetology.
Great part of the thesis of a master's student, within the new master's degree in Natural Sciences of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics of the Universidad del Rosario.
Expected training products
Direction of the thesis of a student of the new master's degree in Natural Sciences of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics of the Universidad del Rosario. This will form human capital in Paleontology with the possibility of continuing in doctoral training or linking to educational or research institutions in Colombia or abroad.
Effective start/end date2/1/206/15/22

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Main Funding Source

  • Competitive Funds


  • Bogotá D.C.


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