In early August, a team of Portuguese and Spanish researchers excavated parts of what they believe to be a fossilized skeleton of brachiosaurid sauropods at Monte Agudo, Pombal, in Portugal, according to a press release last week.
Sauropods – including the world’s largest dinosaurs — were herbivorous dinosaurs recognized by their long necks and tails. Based on the remains found, the researchers estimated that the dinosaur was about 12 meters (39 feet) high and 25 meters (82 feet) long.
The team has excavated important parts of the skeleton so far, including vertebrae and ribs.
“It’s not common to find all the ribs of an animal like this, let alone in this position, while keeping their original anatomical position,” Elisabete Malafaia, a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Science at the University of Lisbon, said in a statement. the release.
“This way of conservation is relatively unusual in the fossil record of dinosaurs, especially sauropods, from the Portuguese Upper Jurassic.”
The discovery is part of an ongoing project, which began in 2017.
That year, while construction work was underway on the property, the owner reportedly noticed several fossilized bone fragments in his backyard.
He contacted the research team, which began the first excavation that year.
Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist and professor at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, who was not involved in the project, called it “stunning — a dinosaur ribcage sticking out of someone’s garden.”
“(It goes to show) you can potentially find them anywhere there’s rock of the right age and type for preserving Jurassic-aged bones, whether it’s in the badlands or someone’s backyard,” he told CNN. adding that finding dinosaur remains comes with chance and circumstance. In dry, poor terrain, erosion from wind and water exposes rocks and the topography is often a hot spot for fossils.
Dinosaurs from the Brachiosauridae group, to which the skeleton would belong, lived about 160 to 100 million years ago between the Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous, according to the press release.
Preserving the skeleton found in Pombal indicates that more of it could be discovered, with further excavations at the planned site.