Paleontologists in Portugal may have unearthed the largest dinosaur remains ever discovered in Europe.
Where did they find them? In a man’s backyard.
The University of Lisbon, in Portugal, said in a press release Wednesday that its researchers, along with researchers from Spain, spent over a week earlier this month excavating the massive skeletal remains of a dinosaur believed to be a brachiosaurus sauropod.
The brachiosaurus stood on four legs and used its extremely long neck to eat from tall trees. It traveled the earth for more than 140 million years, according to the American Museum of Natural History.
The creature discovered likely lived 100 to 160 million years ago and measured roughly 39 feet tall and 82 feet long, the researchers said.
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The colossal discovery had been years in the making. The property owner in Pombal, Portugal stumbled upon fossil fragments in his yard while doing construction work in 2017, researchers said. Researchers began their initial work that year.
The excavation team was impressed by how intact they found the remains, Elisabete Malafaia, a University of Lisbon researcher, said in the university’s press release. “It is not usual to find all the ribs of an animal like this, let alone in this position, maintaining their original anatomical position,” she said. “This mode of preservation is relatively uncommon in the fossil record of dinosaurs, in particular sauropods , from the Portuguese Upper Jurassic.”
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Only the ribs and vertebrae have come to light so far, but the paleontologists believe the rest of the skeleton may be buried nearby. Future excavations will tell.