Everything starts in 2017 in the center of Portugal. In Plombal, a resident begins work to build an annex at his home. By digging with a backhoe, the latter accidentally discovers several dinosaur bones. Quickly, the garden is isolated to be studied by specialists led by the University of Lisbon.
And it was only at the beginning of August 2022 that a team of Portuguese and Spanish researchers unearthed the rest of the animal’s fossils. Research will continue on the site and around in the coming months. And it’s an important discovery. Because it could be largest fossilized sauropod skeleton ever discovered in Europe.
“It is one of the largest known examples at European or even global level“, detailed Monday, August 29, Elisabete Malafaia, director of the excavations and paleontologist at the University of Lisbon. Other makes “rare” : compared to the usual discoveries of fossils, this one is particularly well preserved.
Thanks to the size of the skeleton, paleontologists estimate that this dinosaur was close to 12 meters high and 25 meters long. They identified the animal as being of the sauropod family and could correspond to a brachiosaurus. These specimens are among the largest animals that have ever lived on Earth and populated in particular the western region of Portugal.
Sauropods were herbivorous dinosaursthey fed on leaves, branches and were quadrupeds. Their 4 legs were poorly developed because they had to be able to support their weight, which could go up to 50 tons! These animals, living between 160 and 100 million years ago, were recognizable by their long neck and long tail.
So far, the researchers have managed to dig up the ribs and vertebrae of the sauropod uniquely. And it seems that the Plombal region is conducive to the discovery of dinosaur fossils.
“Research in the paleontological locality of Monte Agudo confirms that the region of Pombal has an important fossil record of Upper Jurassic vertebrates, which over the past decades has provided the discovery of very important abundant elements for the knowledge of the continental faunas that inhabited the Iberian Peninsula, about 145 million years ago”, says Elisabeth Malafaia.
To date, the skeleton recognized as being largest sauropod fossil never discovered was found in the mountains of the Pyrenees, in Spain. The dinosaur measured nearly 18 meters long.