A man doing construction work in his backyard in Portugal has discovered a fossilized bone, which has now been identified as an 82-foot-long dinosaur skeleton – possibly the largest ever found in Europe, According to a press release.
The initial discovery dates back to 2017 in the Portuguese city of Pombal, the American Association for the Advancement of Science said in a statement released on Wednesday.
Paleontologists from Portugal and Spain who have worked at the site since then say the bones could have been those of a sauropod dinosaur that was 39 feet high and 82 feet long.
Sauropods were four-legged, plant-eating dinosaurs with long necks and tails that lived from the Upper Jurassic to the Lower Cretaceous period, 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 unusual to find all the ribs of an animal like this, let alone in this position, while maintaining their original anatomical position. This mode of preservation is relatively uncommon in the fossil record of dinosaurs, particularly sauropods, from the Portuguese Upper Jurassic period, Elizabeth Malavia, researcher Post-doctoral at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, in the statement.
convolutional He told CBS News The ribs are about 10 feet long, making it “the largest sauropod rib currently known in Europe and one of the largest described worldwide.”
The retrieved skeletal parts will be cleaned, affixed to the laboratory, documented and studied before they are displayed in the museum, Melfaya told Newsweek.
Based on the preservation and positioning of the bones removed from the site, the researchers suspect there may be more fossils buried in Pombal’s backyard, and plan to continue excavations next year.
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