A man working construction in his backyard in Portugal unearthed fossilized bones, which have now been identified as the skeleton of an 82-foot-long dinosaur, possibly the largest ever found in Europe. according to a press release.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science said in Wednesday’s statement that the initial discovery was made in 2017 in the Portuguese city of Pombal.
Paleontologists from Portugal and Spain who have been working at the site ever since say the bones could be those of a sauropod dinosaur that is 39 feet tall and 82 feet long.
Sauropods were four-legged, herbivorous dinosaurs with long necks and tails that lived from the Late Jurassic to the Early Cretaceous, about 160-100 million years ago.
The international team of researchers spent more than a week in early August collecting key parts of the massive skeleton, including the vertebrae and ribs.
“It is not usual to find all the ribs of an animal like this, much less 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,” Elisabete Malafaia, a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, said in the statement.
Malafaia he told CBS News the ribs were nearly 10 feet long, making them “the largest sauropod ribs currently known from Europe and one of the largest described anywhere in the world.”
The recovered skeletal fragments will be cleaned and stabilized in a laboratory, documented and studied before being put on display in a museum. Malafaia told Newsweek.
Based on the preservation and positioning of the bones removed from the site, the researchers suspect there could be more fossils buried in Pombal’s backyard, and they plan to continue the excavation work next year.
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