By: April Carson
When renovating a property, homeowners may unearth all sorts of strange things. However, when one Portuguese home owner stumbled on what appears to be Europe's largest dinosaur remains, he discovered something far more unusual.
According to a press release published last week, a team of Portuguese and Spanish scientists exhumed parts of what they believe is a brachiosaurid sauropod skeleton in Monte Agudo, Pombal, Portugal, in early August. This new find suggests that Portugal was once roamed by some of the biggest land animals to ever exist.
Herbivorous dinosaurs called sauropods, which included some of the world's largest dinosaurs, were recognized by their long necks and tails. Based on fossil remains uncovered, researchers estimate that this particular dinosaur was around 12 meters (39 feet) high and 25 meters (82 feet) long.
The team has unearthed important parts of the skeleton so far, including vertebrae and ribs.
"It's very unusual to find all the ribs of an animal in this posture, much less in this position, and keep their natural anatomical arrangement," Elisabete Malafaia, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Lisbon's Faculty of Sciences, added.
"This type of preservation is unusual in dinosaur fossils, particularly those from the Portuguese Upper Jurassic, and it's very rare in sauropods. "
The finding is part of an ongoing study that began in 2017.
In 2017, while improvements were being made to the property, the owner observed several fossilized bone fragments in his backyard, according to the statement.
He then contacted the Portuguese Paleontological Association, which led to an excavation of the site.
During the excavation, workers found several more fossils, including "a cervical vertebra, a dorsal vertebra, some gastralia (belly ribs), chevron bones (from the underside of the tail) and part of a sacral vertebra," the statement said.
After he contacted the research team, they began excavating that year. Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist and professor at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland who wasn't involved in the project, called it "gobsmacking -- a dinosaur ribcage sticking out of somebody's garden."
He told CNN that you could find these bones practically anywhere there is rock of the right age and type for preserving Jurassic-aged remains. This would be in dry areas where erosion from wind and water exposes the rock, which is often a hotspot for fossils.
The species lived between the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, approximately 160 to 100 million years ago, according to the press release. The Brachiosauridae group included dinosaurs that thrived between the Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous time periods, about 160 to 100 million years ago.
The Morrison Formation, which dates back to the Jurassic period, is a popular area for fossil hunting.
The family who made the discovery has chosen to remain anonymous. They contacted experts from the University of Kansas after making the find.
The researchers say the family has been extremely helpful and allowed them access to the site to excavate the remains.
This is the most recent fossilized dinosaur discovery in Europe, but certainly not the first. Just last June, remains of a spinosaurid were found on the Isle of Wight--a small island located south of England. For those unfamiliar with dinosaurs, a Spinoraid is a two-legged carnivorous beast distinguished by its crocodile-like head.
Scientists discovered a new species of carnivorous dinosaur in northern Patagonia, Argentina last month. The dinosaurs are 11 meters (36 feet) long and have arms similar to the Tyrannosaurus Rex.
The finding of the skeleton in Pombal suggests that more remains could be buried there, so further excavation is planned.
This is an absolutely incredible discovery. It's not every day that we find new species of dinosaurs, let alone ones as large and carnivorous as this. This finding will surely change our understanding of the prehistoric world and excite dinosaur lovers everywhere.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
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