Imagine waking up one fine day, only to find out that one of the most gigantic creatures to have ever walked the Earth once resided in your backyard. That’s precisely what happened to a man from the city of Pombal in Portugal while carrying out some construction work in his garden back in 2017. Little did he know that his backyard would hold the key to unraveling prehistoric mysteries.
The astonishing discovery led him to contact researchers from the University of Lisbon, igniting a scientific expedition that would captivate paleontologists and history enthusiasts alike. What they found were fragments of fossilized bones that hinted at the existence of an enormous dinosaur!
Upon closer examination, paleontologists unearthed vertebrae and ribs of what they believe to be a brachiosaurid sauropod, a long-necked, herbivorous quadrupedal dinosaur. This colossal creature, standing an impressive 39 feet tall, is believed to be one of the largest land animals ever to have lived, roaming the area during the Late Jurassic Period approximately 160 to 100 million years ago.
The natural position in which the skeleton was found has researchers hopeful that further excavation may reveal more parts of the same dinosaur. This level of preservation is relatively uncommon in the fossil record of dinosaurs, especially sauropods, from the Portuguese Upper Jurassic.
Elizabeth Malafaya, a Graduate Researcher from the University of Lisbon, explains, “It is not common for all of an animal’s ribs to be preserved in this condition, much less in their original anatomical position. This preservation method is relatively uncommon in the fossil record of dinosaurs, especially sauropods, from the Portuguese Upper Jurassic.”
The discovery reinforces the belief that the region of Pombal boasts an essential fossil record of Late Jurassic vertebrates. Over the last few decades, significant discoveries have shed light on the continental fauna that inhabited the Iberian Peninsula around 145 million years ago.
The fossils were found in Upper Jurassic sedimentary rocks, indicating an estimated age of 150 million years. These findings not only provide invaluable insights into the history of our planet but also offer an opportunity for scientific exploration and understanding of prehistoric life.
Before further studies and accurate identification, parts of the unearthed remains will undergo laboratory treatment to remove all the sediments. Once completed, researchers anticipate exciting exhibitions and presentations that will showcase the ancient marvels found right in a man’s backyard.
This discovery serves as a testament to the significance of preserving and protecting our natural heritage. It ignites a sense of wonder and curiosity about the mysteries that the Earth still holds, awaiting discovery and exploration. The collaboration between scientists and the public fosters a greater appreciation for the history of life on our planet and the importance of protecting it for future generations.
As we delve deeper into the prehistoric past, the world is reminded of the magnificence of ancient creatures that once roamed the lands we now inhabit. The man who stumbled upon this extraordinary find in his backyard has inadvertently contributed to unraveling the secrets of the distant past, reminding us all that our planet’s history is one of wonder, fascination, and awe-inspiring revelations.