Geology and Paleontology of Latin America

Cover image credit: By Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0

Well, it has been a long time since my last post.

Since then I’ve started a new job as a professor and have had so little time for much of anything outside of teaching and trying to start a research lab. I’m coming back to the blog over the holiday break with a little bit of something different.

I developed a short course entitled “The Geology of Latin America” which I attempted to teach over my university’s J-term. The course was designed off of an excellent course made by faculty at the University of Texas-Dallas.1 It covered the importance of geology to the nations in Latin America in order provide a more representative view of geology to students who either are from Latin American countries or who call these places their ancestral homelands.

However, my version was cancelled due to low enrollment (a fate of many J-term courses at my university). So, what I’ll do instead is write a short series on some of the more interesting stories I dug up. Following that, I will spend some time discussing some of the pioneering women in paleontology in Mexico. This should help me get some more posts out before classes pick back up in the spring semester.

Just as a brief aside; I want to mention that when I say Latin America, I am specifically referring to Mexico, Central America, and South America. I am well aware that Latin America is a difficult term sometimes that means many different things to different people. I am only using it here as a shorthand for that broad geographical area.

So what will this series be like? Well, when I was doing my research, I discovered a lot of interesting stories that rather than tell students, I’ll get to tell you. I will cover the following topics:

  • A discussion on the colonial nature of paleontology in Latin America, and how many countries are taking their paleo-heritage back
  • Human origins – including an interesting story of a paleontologist who was certain humans originated in Argentina
  • How geologic resources, specifically metals, shaped the history of Latin America

I will then wrap up this series with a look at some of the pioneering women paleontologists of Mexico, which seems more fitting with the rest of my blog so far.

I hope that gives you enough to keep you interested over the next coming months. I can’t guarantee any sort of posting regularity, but I’ll be trying to get new posts out semi-regularly over the next month or so.


  1. Pujana, I., Stern, R. J., & Ledbetter, C. (2006). Geology, resources and environment of Latin America: Incorporating earth systems science education in an undergraduate science service course intended for Hispanic students. Journal of Geoscience Education54(3), 357-363.

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