Excavations were carried out in the backyard of a house in the quiet town of Pombal, in the center of PortugalYou may have uncovered one of the largest excavations dinosaur Already in Europe.
A team of Portuguese and Spanish paleontologists have discovered part of an exceptionally large skeleton of a sauropod: a giant herbivore known for having a very long neck and tail.
Paleontologist Elizabeth Malavia, a researcher at the Dom Luis Institute at the University of Lisbon, explains, “The whole rib was very massive. We started excavating and the rib continued and continued, and the length didn’t really stop increasing.”
“At one point, we knew that the longest dorsal rib known so far was about 2.70 metres, and we actually got past that. We kept digging and the largest rib we found was about three metres.” , completed.
According to the researchers involved in the work, the fossil was located in good preservation conditions, and still preserves the original anatomical position that it would have had in the animal in life.
“This method of preservation is relatively uncommon in the dinosaur fossil record (in particular sauropods) of the Portuguese Upper Jurassic,” the University of Lisbon announced in a note.
The material is now being prepared for analysis by scientists. From there, it will be possible to find out if the dinosaur was already known or if it belonged to a new species.
The process of discovering the animal began practically by chance, when one of the inhabitants found traces of the first fossilized bones during construction on his land. Then the owner contacted the university that was already operating in the area.
Excavations have been taking place gradually since 2017, the last of which, which identified the massive ribs, was in early August.
Because the materials were disposed of and preserved, scientists believe there are still other parts of the skeleton to be recovered. Therefore, further exploration expeditions will be carried out on Earth. The next planning is scheduled for the spring or summer of 2023.
Scientists have already determined that the fossil of this prehistoric Portuguese – who inhabited the area about 150 million years ago – is part of the group of brachiosaurids, which includes species such as Lusotitan atalaiensiswho also lived in Portugal.
With a height of about 12 meters, and perhaps more than 20 meters in length, this Lusitian giant lived in Laurenha, one of the most famous excavation areas in the country. The area is now home to a large park entirely dedicated to dinosaurs.
“Portugal is known for its prolific fossil record of dinosaurs from the Upper Jurassic, particularly on the coast, as in Lorinha, Torres Vedras and Caldas da Rainha,” says paleontologist Elizabeth Malavia.
According to the scientist, the recent discovery of Megadensaurus serves to highlight the importance of the heritage of the region, which has already revealed in recent years other deposits of importance.
The researcher also points out that despite the large number of dinosaur fossils that have been identified in Portugal, there is no evidence that the country has a particularly large number of these animals. What will make a difference, in the Portuguese case, are the conditions that favor the preservation of these monuments.
“The kind of rocks we now feature in Portugal favor conservation,” he says.
“In the structure that we call the Lucitan Basin, we have a group of sedimentary rocks that allow us to preserve fossils from that period, especially from the Upper Jurassic, but from the entire Mesozoic period,” continues the paleontologist.
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