Five metre long dinosaur neck found in Spain

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Investigators from the Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont and the University of Zaragoza have dug up the neck of a Sauropod more than five meters long. The structure made to remove the fossil intact, that the paleontologists named ‘Momia”, weighed more than 2,500 kilos.

Five metre long dinosaur neck found in Spain
Momia measures five and half meters long by a meter and a half wide and is 
estimated to weigh between 2,000 and 2,500 tons [Credit: ICP]

The operation to excavate and transport Momia took almost five hours to complete and required the use of a powerful backhoe and the creation of a road in order to get to the location where the fossil was buried, and afterwards transport it to the town of Isona and Conca. Access to the Oracu-1 Site is complicated, and for the past few years the excavation operations had been preparing the way for when the moment came to move the fossil.

Momia measures five and half meters long by a meter and a half wide and is estimated to weigh between 2,000 and 2,500 tons. For the investigators it was interesting to dig up the entire piece because the 7-8 vertebras in the neck area are in anatomical connection, meaning that they are in the same position as when the animal was alive 68 million years ago, an exceptional discovery in dinosaur remains that are found in the Pyrenees, which usually are only isolated and dispersed portions.

Angel Galobart, the leader of the investigation group of the Mesozoic area of the ICP affirmed the importance of this piece, “This finding has a triple importance to us: scientifically – we have a skeleton that is in anatomical connection and that can provide us with valuable information; informational – we hope that once ready it will be an exhibition element of the first order at the Museo de la Conca Dellà; and lastly –historical value – because this excavation is the culmination of some projects that began almost 60 years ago.”

This discovery was made through the joint collaboration that the investigation group of the Mesozoic Department of the ICP has with the Aragosaurus Group of the University of Zaragoza to further studies regarding the dinosaurs of the Pyrenees. The excavation of this fossil received support from the prestigious National Geographic Society given to the group of investigators headed by Bernard Vila of the University of Zaragoza.

The site of Oracu-1 has been known about since the 1950’s, however excavations were detained until the 1980’s due to economic reasons.

Source: Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont via Art Daily [December 15, 2014]

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