Paleontologists in Portugal might have discovered Europe's largest known dinosaur remains to date, but where they found it made it almost impossible to believe! The remains were unearthed in a man's backyard in Pombal, Portugal, a city located two hours north of Lisbon. And according to the property owner, this wasn't the first time he had discovered something of the sort in the back of his home. Here's what to know...
The man confirmed during a press release from the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon he found "several fragments of fossilized bones" back in 2017 when doing construction on his yard. So, when the rest of the fossils were unearthed, it might not have been as much of a surprise -but what experts found left him stunned. Portuguese and Spanish paleontologists took over a week excavating the skeletal remains of the "largest sauropod dinosaur" in Europe, which lived around 100 to 160 million years ago. According to researchers, the brachiosaurus sauropod dinosaur stood strong on four legs and was around 39 feet tall and 82 feet long, with a massively long neck used to eat from the trees and feed its herbivorous diet.
According to Dr. Elisabete Malafia, a researcher at the University of Lisbon: "It is not usual to find all the ribs of an animal like this, let alone in this position, maintaining their original anatomical position." The findings were a big surprise for paleontologists, and "this mode of preservation is relatively uncommon in the fossil record of dinosaurs, in particular sauropods, from the Portuguese Upper Jurassic." Through the excavation process, archeologists have so far found the animal's ribs and vertebrae, but they believe the remaining parts of the dinosaur are lingering nearby.
With these findings, researchers from the University of Lisbon have been working side by side with the Evolutionary Biology Group at UNED-Madrid and the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Complutense University of Madrid to continue to unearth whatever remains are left. The combined research team is currently assessing the excavated dinosaur remains and is offering updates as they come across new information. Stay tuned. And in the meantime, check out this other historical discovery.