Huge dinosaur skeleton found in man’s backyard in Portugal

Written By Lara Silva

The skeleton of a possible sauropod dinosaur was discovered back in 2017 in a man’s backyard in Pombal, Portugal. The skeleton is now reported to possibly be the largest dinosaur skeleton ever found in Europe at 12 meters high and 25 meters long.

Five years ago, a man noticed fragments of fossilized bones in his backyard in Pombal while carrying out construction work. Since then, an international research team has been studying the findings and conducting excavation campaigns on site.

In August of 2022, Portuguese and Spanish paleontologists realized that the remains could correspond to the largest sauropod dinosaur discovered in Europe. 

Dr. Elisabete Malafaia, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Lisbon, has said that this finding is incredibly rare, as such preservation is unusual for large-sized dinosaurs. 

She said in a statement, “It is not usual to find all the ribs of an animal like this, let alone 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”.

Parts of the skeleton have been collected, including vertebrae and ribs. The researchers found “the largest ribs of a sauropod that are currently known in Europe” and one of the largest worldwide. Each rib measured about three meters in length. 

The skeleton is thought to be of a possible brachiosaurid sauropod dinosaur, a large species that lived from the Upper Jurassic to the Lower Cretaceous around 100 million years ago. 

The preservation characteristics of the fossils indicate to the researchers that there might be other parts of the skeleton around. This hypothesis will be tested in future excavations this year.

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