Skull remains of giant European dinosaur found in Spain

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The remains of the skull of a dinosaur first uncovered in Teruel (Aragon) in 2003 seem to belong to a “Turiasaurus Riodevendis”, a “European Giant” living around 145 million years ago. 

A Spanish paleontology foundation presents Tuesday the fossilized skull of the biggest dinosaur yet found in Europe [Credit: EFE]

It constitutes “an incredible find” according to the scientists of the laboratory of paleontology of the Dinopolis Foundation in Teruel, who presented the discovery today. 

The remains concern 24 bones of the skull and seven teeth, and were found in the quarry of Barrihonda-El Humero, in the area of Riodeva (Teruel) during the 2005 campaign. 

According to the researchers who published the results of the study on the Journal of Systematic Paleontology, this type of dinosaur “rarely manages to preserve” due to the extremely brittle bones of the head and usually four Sauropods out of five which are found completely lack the skull. 

However in this case, after years of research it was able to recuperate about 70% of the information necessary to recompose the skull. 

Artist’s impression of Turiasaurus riodevensis [Credit: Republica]

The new species of “European Giant” found in Teruel originally weighed 40 tonnes, with a length between 30 and 35 metres and sporting 60 teeth. It represents the most complete specimen of Sauropod found in the Spanish peninsula. 

The remains confirm that it was a herbivorous dinosaur, with a 78cm skull, whilst the humerus bone found in 2003 measures 179 centimetres. 

The group of palaeontologists of the Dinopolis Foundation laboratory took two years to carefully prepare the material, bone by bone, comparing them to similar fossils and was able to reconstruct 55% of the animal’s skeleton. 

The first news regarding the finding of this species were published by the researchers on “Science” magazine. 

Among the dinosaur fossils found were also part of the neck bones, vertebrae, bones from the front and rear feet, the femur and a scapula. 

The reconstruction of the skull will be exhibited in Riodeva, in the new home of the Dinopolis Territory, whose inauguration is expected for next summer. 

Source: ANSAmed [April 03, 2012]

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