Dinosaur remains uncovered in Portuguese garden could be the largest ever found in Europe

In 2017, a homeowner in Pombal, Portugal, stumbled upon some fossilized bone fragments while doing construction work in his back garden. Evacuation work swiftly began and excitement around the findings grew. 

Last month, paleontologists at the site began unearthing the vertebrae and ribs of what they think is a sauropod, the biggest of all dinosaurs and land animals to have walked the earth. If they are correct in their thinking, these remains could be the largest ever found in Europe.

Dinosaurs have always been a fascination for old and young alike. They’ve played a key role in developing evolutionary theory and other scientific concepts, as well as an entertaining role in movies and documentaries, starring in video and casino games, and even having entire theme parks made in their honour. The interest and unique research opportunity grows deeper with every fossil finding, and this discovery has caused a particular stir among dinosaur fanatics.

Photo by Jon Butterworth on Unsplash

What is also unusual about this finding is that all the ribs are present, and they have maintained their original anatomical position. This mode of preservation is relatively uncommon in the fossil record of dinosaurs from the Portuguese Upper Jurassic, especially with sauropods. Researchers are hoping that the natural position the skeleton was found in may mean they will uncover more parts of the same dinosaur. 

The set of elements of the axial skeleton of these fossils indicates that it could have been a brachiosaurid sauropod dinosaur, possibly a species called Lusotitan Atalaiensis. They are believed to have lived approximately 100 to 160 million years ago on the Iberian Peninsula. 

The herbivorous Sauropod group, which also includes the more commonly known brontosaurus and diplodocus, are marked by a long neck and tail, small head, and a four-legged stance on their thick, pillar-like legs. Although it is too early to know for certain the exact sub-species of this finding, there is no denying the sheer size of the fossils, which indicate that this dinosaur would have been 12 meters high and 25 meters long. 

Whatever this dinosaur is, paleontologists agree that it is a remarkable discovery, with some astounded that a dinosaur rib cage could just be sticking out of somebody’s garden like that. But it shows that where there is rock of the right age and the right type for preserving Jurassic-aged bones, you could potentially stumble across these fossils anywhere, even in someone’s backyard. 

These remains have given paleontologists hope that more prehistoric riches will be found in Portugal soon, especially in the Pombal region, which has an abundant fossil record of dinosaurs and other vertebrates. 

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