What May Be the Largest Dinosaur Skeleton Ever Found in Europe Gets Discovered in Man's Backyard in Portugal

·2 min read
What May Be the Largest Dinosaur Skeleton Ever Found in Europe Gets Discovered in Man's Backyard in Portugal

Sometimes the surprise of a lifetime can be waiting in your own backyard!

The property owner, who lives in Pombal, Portugal, first stumbled upon "several fragments of fossilized bones" in 2017 while doing construction in his yard, according to a recent press release from the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon.

And earlier this month, Portuguese and Spanish paleontologists uncovered pieces of what they believe could be the "largest sauropod dinosaur" — which the university described as "herbivorous, quadrupedal dinosaurs, with long neck and tails — to ever be found in Europe.

Researchers believe the remains could correspond to a dinosaur that was 39 feet (12 meters) tall and 82 feet (25 meters) long.

The excavation campaign at the Monte Agudo paleontological site (Pombal, Portugal) resulted in the extraction of part of the fossilized skeleton of a large sauropod dinosaur.
The excavation campaign at the Monte Agudo paleontological site (Pombal, Portugal) resulted in the extraction of part of the fossilized skeleton of a large sauropod dinosaur.

Courtesy Instituto Dom Luiz (Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon) Paleontologists uncover dinosaur remains in Portugal

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This is not a typical discovery, according to Dr. Elisabete Malafaia, a postdoctoral 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," Malafaia said in the university's release.

Artwork of a male and female brachiosaurus.
Artwork of a male and female brachiosaurus.

Getty An illustration of a brachiosaurus

Researchers from the university have been working with the Evolutionary Biology Group at UNED-Madrid and the Faculty of Fine Arts at Complutense University of Madrid as they work to unearth the precious remains.

Experts believe they have uncovered vertebrae and rib bones "of a possible brachiosaurid sauropod dinosaur," which they said lived approximately 160 to 100 million years ago.

And there could be more of the dinosaur's skeletal remains in the area, too.

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"The research in the Monte Agudo paleontological locality confirms that the region of Pombal has an important fossil record of Late Jurassic vertebrates," Malafaia said.

An international research team is now assessing the remains that have been unearthed, according to the press release.