EFECerro Guido, Chile

A team of scientists continues exploring the cold mountains and steppes of Chilean Patagonia looking for the fossilized remains of plants and animals more than 65 million years old.

The expedition, organized by the Chilean Antarctic Institute, or Inach, is searching for traces of dinosaurs and other species that inhabited the region during the late Cretaceous period, a time close to the massive extinction of dinosaurs.

The Cretaceous period lasted from the end of the Jurassic period some 145 million years ago to the early Paleocene period 65 million years ago.

The area selected for the search is the Patagonian tundra in Cerro Guido, a ranch close to the border with Argentina.

Reaching the ranch is, in itself, a minor adventure.

The first stage is a five-hour drive by car on rocky roads and pebble-covered tracks to reach the Las Chinas ranch.

Next comes a roughly 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) trek that takes nearly five hours on foot and half that time by tractor to reach the scientists' camp.

The team includes Chilean and Brazilian paleontologists, biologists and geologists working to find evidence of a land bridge between South America and Antarctica late in the time of the dinosaurs.

The project started several years ago and has so far made surprising discoveries, such as the first fossil remains found in Chile of hadrosaurids, a species of herbivorous vertebrate quite common in the late Cretaceous period between 69 million and 71 million years ago.

This region of Chilean Patagonia is a gold mine for the study of dinosaurs.

Inach's Marcelo Leppe, leader of the expedition, said it was a "Rosetta stone" for paleontology.

"This place has elements of two worlds, what was understood as the Antarctic world, and the South American world," Leppe told EFE, adding that the wealth of fossils and vast areas to dig provided the scientists with work for the next 25 years.