They discover an “amazing” dinosaur fossil in the patio of a house in Portugal
(CNN) — Renovating your home can unearth all sorts of unexpected objects, but a Portuguese homeowner uncovered a treasure trove on a whole other scale when he stumbled upon what could be Europe’s largest dinosaur remains.
In early August, a team of Portuguese and Spanish researchers exhumed parts of what they believe to be a fossilized brachiosaurid sauropod skeleton at Monte Agudo, Pombal, in Portugal, according to a press release last week.
Sauropods, among which were the largest dinosaurs in the world, were herbivorous dinosaurs recognized by their long necks and tails. Based on the remains discovered, the researchers estimate that the dinosaur was about 12 meters tall and 25 meters long.
The team has so far unearthed important parts of the skeleton, such as vertebrae and ribs.
“It is not usual to find all the ribs of an animal like this, much less in this position, maintaining their original anatomical position,” Elisabete Malafaia, a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, said in the statement.
“This mode of preservation is relatively infrequent in the fossil record of dinosaurs, particularly sauropods, from the Portuguese Upper Jurassic.”
The researchers believe that the remains could measure about 12 meters in height and 25 meters in length. The discovery is part of an ongoing project, which began in 2017.
In that year, while construction work was being done on the property, the owner noticed several fossilized bone fragments in his backyard, according to the release. He contacted the research team, which began the first excavation that year.
Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist and professor at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, who was not involved in the project, called it “astonishing: a dinosaur rib cage sticking out of someone’s garden.”
“[Esto demuestra] that you can find them anywhere there are rocks of the right age and type to preserve Jurassic bones, whether it’s in the badlands or someone’s backyard,” he told CNN, adding that finding remains of Dinosaurs implies chance and the right circumstances.In the dry terrain of the badlands, erosion by wind and water exposes rock, and the topography is often a hotbed for fossils.
The research underlines the importance of the vertebrate fossil record in the Portuguese region of Pombal.
Dinosaurs from the group Brachiosauridae, to which the skeleton is believed to belong, lived between the Late Jurassic and the Early Cretaceous, about 160 to 100 million years ago, the statement added.
This is not the first discovery of a fossilized dinosaur in Europe in recent years. In June it was reported that the remains of a spinosaurid, a predatory bipedal dinosaur with a crocodile-like face, had been found on the Isle of Wight in southern England.
Elsewhere in the world, a new species of carnivorous dinosaur 11 meters long and with arms similar to those of Tyrannosaurus rex has been discovered – in northern Argentine Patagonia – scientists announced last month.
The preservation of the skeleton found at Pombal indicates that more specimens may be discovered, and further excavations are planned at the site.