La Venta (Colombia)

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This article is about the fossil site in Colombia. For the archeological site in Mexico, see La Venta.

La Venta is a settlement between the modern Tolima Department and Huila Department, Colombia. Nearby, one of the richest Neogene fossil assemblages in the whole of South America is known. It provides a glimpse of how life in the region was like before the main wave of the Great American Interchange.

Fossil site[edit]

Most glyptodonts – like this one – have been found in Patagonia, but they lived at La Venta too.
Huilatherium pluriplicatum.

The fossils occur in Middle Miocene rocks of the Villavieja Formation and La Victoria Formation. The La Venta fauna contained ancient species of animal genera and families still alive today, as well as some entirely extinct prehistoric lineages. These animals lived some 13.8 to 12 million years ago in the Laventan age, which was named after La Venta. At that time, the climate of the region was wetter than today and there was much forest of trees similar (and probably related) to the sapino (Goupia glabra) of our time.

List of fauna[edit]

Fossil animals found at La Venta include[1][2]


  1. ^ S. E. Hirschfeld, and L. G. Marshall. Revised faunal list of the La Venta fauna (Friasian-Miocene) of Colombia, South America. Journal of Paleontology; May 1976; v. 50; no. 3; p. 433-436.
  2. ^ Richard F. Kay and Richard H. Madden, 1997. Paleogeography and Paleoecology. Chapter 30 of Vertebrate Paleontology in the Neotropics. The Miocene Fauna of La Venta, Colombia. Edited by Richard F. Kay, Richard H. Madden, Richard L. Cifelli, and John J. Flynn. Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington and London.
  3. ^ Estes, Richard and Richard Wassersurg (1963). A Miocene toad from Colombia, South America. Breviora, 193:1-13, December 5.
  4. ^ T. Setoguchi and A. L. Rosenberger (April 1987). "A fossil owl monkey from La Venta, Colombia". Nature 22 (6114): 692–694. doi:10.1038/326692a0. PMID 3561511. 
  5. ^ Meldrum, DJ; Kay, RF. (September 1997). "Nuciruptor rubricae, a new pitheciin seed predator from the Miocene of Colombia" (PDF). Am J Phys Anthropol 102 (3): 407–427. doi:10.1002/(sici)1096-8644(199703)102:3<407::aid-ajpa8>;2-r. PMID 9098507. 
  6. ^ Czaplewski N.J., Masanaru T., T. M. Naeher., N. Shigehara, and T. Setoguchi: Additional bats from the middle Miocene La Venta fauna of Colombia. Revista de la Academia Colombiana de Ciencias 27 (103): 263-282, 2003. ISSN 0370-3908.
  7. ^ M. C. Vallejo-Pareja, J. D. Carrillo, J. W. Moreno-Bernal, M. Pardo-Jaramillo, D. F. Rodriguez-Gonzalez and J. Muñoz-Duran (2015). "Hilarcotherium castanedaii, gen. et sp. nov., a new Miocene astrapothere (Mammalia, Astrapotheriidae) from the Upper Magdalena Valley, Colombia". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Online edition. doi:10.1080/02724634.2014.903960. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 3°18′00″N 75°06′00″W / 3.3000°N 75.1000°W / 3.3000; -75.1000