Portugal: Europe's largest dinosaur skeleton discovered - in a backyard

The owner, whose backyard is now an excavation site in Pombal, a city in Portugal, discovered the dinosaur's fossilized bones during construction work back in 2017.

Portugal: Europe's largest dinosaur skeleton discovered - in a backyard

The owner, whose backyard is now an excavation site in Pombal, a city in Portugal, discovered the dinosaur's fossilized bones during construction work back in 2017. He then informed a team of experts, who immediately began excavating in his garden.

In August 2022, the paleontologists uncovered further remains of the dinosaur, including the trunk skeleton, ribs and vertebrae. The skeleton is from a Brachiosaurus, a genus of sauropods. The four-legged, herbivorous dinosaur has a relatively small head, long neck, stocky legs, and long tail. The remains of the animal found indicate that this individual was up to 12 meters tall and up to 25 meters long when alive.

In the history of the earth, sauropods are considered to be the largest land-dwelling animals. Only a few whale species reached an even larger body size. Sauropods were one of the most diverse and widespread groups of herbivorous dinosaurs. They are said to have become extinct towards the end of the Cretaceous period, around 66 million years ago.

An international research team is now examining the remains of the animal. Doctoral student Elisabete Malafaia, from the Faculty of Science at the University of Lisbon, describes the find as special: "It is unusual to find all of an animal's ribs in this way, let alone in this position, that retains their original anatomical position. This type of preservation is Dinosaur fossil record, particularly sauropods, from the Upper Portuguese Jurassic is relatively uncommon."

The characteristics of preservation and the arrangement of the bones are an indication that other parts of the skeleton could possibly be located at this position. The researchers want to find out in further excavations whether this is the case.

Sources: "The Guardian", "Standard"

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