Story at a glance
- The largest and most complete dinosaur skeleton has been found in Italy, along with a herd of 11 other dinosaurs.
- The remains belong to the species “Tethyshadros insularis,” which roamed the earth about 80 million years ago.
- Experts had previously believed the ancient Mediterranean area to be unsuitable for large animals like dinosaurs.
Paleontologists in Italy have discovered the largest and most complete dinosaur skeleton in the country’s history, along with the fossilized remains of a herd of 11 dinosaurs that are rewriting history.
Singular dinosaur remains have been found scattered throughout Italy since the 1990s, but the discovery of multiple skeletons in a single place is significant.
“Italy is not known for dinosaurs and, although we had a few lucky strikes in the past, now we have a whole herd at one dinosaur site,” Federico Fanti, a professor at the University of Bologna and the lead researcher on the site, told The Guardian.
Experts had previously believed the ancient Mediterranean area was unsuitable for large animals like dinosaurs, given it was formed by small islands far from major mainlands like Europe, Africa, and Asia.
The remains have been identified as belonging to the species “Tethyshadros insularis,” which roamed the earth about 80 million years ago, according to Fanti’s research, published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
Villaggio del Pescatore, a former limestone quarry just outside of the Italian city of Trieste, where the fossils were found, first became associated with dinosaurs in 1996 when paleontologists stumbled upon a skeleton they named Antonio, initially identifying him as a “dwarf species.”
But Fanti’s discovery now calls that one into question, and it is now believed that Antonio was a young dinosaur part of the recently discovered herd, which appears to have died together.
“Bruno is the biggest and oldest of the group, and the most complete dinosaur skeleton ever found in Italy,” Fanti told the Guardian. “We knew there were dinosaurs at the site after the discovery of Antonio, but up until now nobody actually checked to see how many. What we have now are multiple bones belonging to the same herd.”
The remains of fossilized fish, crocodiles, and shrimp have also been found at the site.
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