MEF is a leading paleontological museum and research center in South America. This status began with a unique stroke of luck: Trelew is situated in the heart of the ‘Patagonian Dinosaur Graveyard’ – one of the richest sites of fossilized remains in the world.
Throughout its history, Patagonia, has had a comparatively warm climate, which has led to highly diverse life forms. Over millennia, a series of sedimentary basins developed in the area, entombing almost every trace of life that had lived and evolved in the area in thousands of meters of sediment. Now, the semi-desert conditions allow access for scientists to unearth this huge store of history.
The Key to Understanding Earth’s Future
Paleontology allows us to see and understand the ancient history of our planet and the life-forms that inhabited it. But more importantly, by understanding history we are able to interpret the present and predict the future of Earth in ways that are impossible by any other means.
The patagonian expeditions
Exploring the past
The fossil record is the detailed history of our planet. Through fossils we can understand how continents have moved, temperatures have fluctuated, and biodiversity has changed.
When paleontologists at MEF look at the tree rings in a petrified forest or the growth patterns of an oyster shell they can discern the changes of life on Earth over millennia. They can see how:
- populations have increased or declined
- plants and animals have spread to new places or retreated
- individual specimens have become smaller or larger
- the climate has changed in cyclical patterns.
Diego Pol, PhD
Senior Manager, Scientific Department MEF
MEF scientific landmarks
Thirty years of
MEF has developed into a center for leading researchers and a key education and training center for paleontology in Latin America. Its scientific and research strengths include:
- a number of Latin America’s leading paleontologists, some of whom are tipped to become the next generation of leading global experts
- an extremely strong publishing record in leading international peer-reviewed scientific journals, including Nature, Science, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United Stated of America
- partnerships with international museums including the American Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, and Natural History Museum, London
- partnerships with university research programs including Üniversitat München, Üniversitat Hamburg, and Cornell University
- training courses for technical professionals from across South America, taking place up to three times a year with up to 50 participants per course