Paleontologists in Portugal have found something amazing. In the city of Pombal, near the center of the country, the remains of potentially the largest dinosaur ever to be discovered in Europe, experts recently announced.
CNN wrote, “Home renovations can unearth all sorts of unexpected items, but one Portuguese property owner discovered hidden treasure on another 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 is a fossilized brachiosaurid sauropod skeleton in Monte Agudo, Pombal, in Portugal, according to a news release last week.
Sauropods – which included the world’s largest dinosaurs – were herbivorous dinosaurs recognized by their long necks and tails. Based on the remains uncovered, the researchers estimate that the dinosaur was around 12 meters (39 feet) high and 25 meters (82 feet) long.”
Phys.org writes, “It all started in 2017. While carrying out construction work, the owner of a property in Pombal noticed the presence of several fragments of fossilized bones in his yard and contacted the research team, who carried out the first excavation campaign in that same year.
More recently, between 1 and 10 August, 2022, Portuguese and Spanish paleontologists working on the site have been unearthing what may be the remains of the largest sauropod dinosaur to be found in Europe. Sauropods are herbivorous, quadrupedal dinosaurs, with long neck and tails.
“It is not usual to find all the ribs of an animal like this, let alone in this position, maintaining their original anatomical position. This mode of preservation is relatively uncommon in the fossil record of dinosaurs, in particular sauropods, from the Portuguese Upper Jurassic,” says Elisabete Malafaia, Postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon (Ciências ULisboa), Portugal.
So far, an important set of elements of the axial skeleton has been collected from the site, which includes vertebrae and ribs of a possible brachiosaurid sauropod dinosaur. The Brachiosauridae group is composed of large species that lived from the Upper Jurassic to the Lower Cretaceous, approximately 160 to 100 million years ago, and are characterized by the presence of markedly developed forelimbs. Some of the most emblematic dinosaur species belong to this group of sauropods, such as Brachiosaurus altithorax and Giraffatitan brancai, as well as the Portuguese Late Jurassic species found in Portugal’s West region, Lusotitan atalaiensis.
Reuters had some good photos of the behemoth:
WATCH: Experts unearth the remains of a huge dinosaur skeleton in Portugal and it could be the largest ever found in Europe pic.twitter.com/eIYotojwm6
— Reuters (@Reuters) September 5, 2022
Elisabete Malafaia, a paleontologist from the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Lisbon said in a statement, “It is not usual to find all the ribs of an animal like this, let alone in this position, maintaining their original anatomical position. This kind of preservation is relatively rare for large-sized dinosaurs from the Portuguese fossil record and indicates particular and unusual environmental and taphonomic features.”
The magazine said that this specimen may still have bones that need to be uncovered. The scientists plan to continue excavations next year. In the meantime, researchers plan to take the newly found bones to a lab, where they will clean them up, record the finds and get them ready for future study and display in a museum.
“Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland who wasn’t involved in the project….[called the find] ‘gobsmacking—a dinosaur ribcage sticking out of somebody’s garden… [It goes to show] you can potentially find them anywhere there is rock of the right age and right type for preserving Jurassic-aged bones, whether it’s in the badlands or someone’s backyard.’”