Biggest Dinosaur Fossil Discovery in Europe is a Sauropod

Biggest Dinosaur Fossil Discovery in Europe is a Sauropod

What could be the biggest dinosaur fossil discovery in history lies in Europe. This is so far, the largest pre-historic animal fossil find ever unearthed in Europe.

What are Sauropods?

Sauropods belong to the saurischian group or “lizard-hipped” dinosaurs. This prehistoric animal walked on four legs and eats plants. It also has a long tail and neck perfect for reaching out lush fresh foliage from high trees. Scientists believe that this dinosaur roamed all the continents except for Antarctica. Additionally, these animals are one of the most long-standing groups of dinosaurs.

A group of sauropods. (James St. John/WikimediaCommons)

Diplodocus is an example of a sauropod that lived in the Late Triassic Period and started to diversify in the Middle Jurassic, some 180 million years ago. Aside from having a long tail and neck, it has also a small skull and brain. Its limbs resemble those of modern-day elephants.

 

Biggest Dinosaur Fossil Discovery Unearthed in Europe

It used to be a simple backyard located in the heart of Portugal. However, that area has revealed significant secrets from the past. Spanish and Portuguese palaeontologists are now working on what could be the biggest dinosaur fossil discovery in Europe.

Currently, an international research team collaborates, working and studying the site. They believed that the discovered fossil giant fossil belongs to a sauropod species. This dinosaur can grow to 12
metres in height and 25 metres in length.

It was in 2017 when palaeontologists discovered the sauropod fossils. During that time, residents were doing a project on a property in Pombal. As the project proceeded, the property owner noticed the buried fossils in his backyard. He kept in touch with the researchers and began excavating the said area in 2018.

This month, the careful and painstaking excavation paid off and delivered full fossils. To date, archaeologists uncovered a set of vertebrae and ribs. They believed it belonged to a sauropod from the Brachiosauridae group. This group existed from the Upper Jurassic to the Late Cretaceous period, around 160-100 million years ago. They are herbivores, with long necks and long tails, and walked on four legs

“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,” said Elisabete Malafaia.

Malafaia is a Postdoctoral researcher working at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon (Ciências ULisboa), Portugal. She and other international researchers will continue their excavation campaigns in the succeeding years. Due to the skeleton’s natural position when found, researchers are assuming that there is more of it waiting to be dug up.

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