An international research team is uncovering the remains of what could be the largest dinosaur ever found in Europe after a Portuguese man started noticing fossilized bones in his backyard years ago.
The fossil, located in central Portugal, is believed to be a brachiosaurid sauropod dinosaur that would have stood 39 feet tall and been about 82 feet long, according to 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,” Elisabete Malafaia, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Lisbon, said this week.
“This mode of preservation is relatively uncommon in the fossil record of dinosaurs, in particular sauropods, from the Portuguese Upper Jurassic.”
Sauropods, iconic herbivorous dinosaurs known for their long necks and tails, lived from 160 to 100 million years ago.
A man in Pombal, Portugal, first noticed fragments of bones on his property in 2017 while doing construction.
In recent weeks, Portuguese and Spanish researchers have uncovered the vertebrate and ribs of the sauropod in the man’s backyard.