Jun 11, 2021 at 12:02 PM CEST
Paleontologists from the Aragosaurus-IUCA group of the University of Zaragoza and the Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (ICP) have recovered the most complete articulated vertebral series of a giant sauropod dinosaur in Spain. The fossils of about 145 million years found in Camarillas (Teruel) include part of a vertebral column more than five meters in length, with at least 15 articulated vertebrae of the neck and back of a giant dinosaur, which they probably belong to a new species not yet described.
“The vertebrae are more than 30 cm long and, in the absence of their preparation, it is estimated that each of them can measure almost a meter in height. They belong to a dinosaur that could well reach a length of more than 25 meters and, possibly one of the largest in Europe& rdquor ;, highlights the paleontologist Diego Castanera, a postdoctoral researcher, who has led this work together with José Ignacio Canudo, principal investigator of the Aragosaurus-IUCA group at the University of Zaragoza.
In recent months the excavations of these fossils from the La Peñuela site (Camarillas, Teruel) have been carried out with great technical complexity. “The extraction of the vertebral series has not been an easy task,” says Castanera.
In the first place, after excavation and plaster protection of the vertebrae, the block had to be separated into two parts, to prevent the “mummy & rdquor; (technical name used to name the structure that surrounds the fossil) had too much weight and also to facilitate its handling and extraction.
Subsequently, an iron structure was made (made by the Martin Pérez de Cedrillas workshop) to finally assemble a cardboard box that was filled with expandable polyurethane.
A new species of dinosaur?
The two “mummies & rdquor; They were removed from the site with a rotating machine and a gondola by Juan Ramón López and transported to Camarillas. There, they await their preparation and subsequent scientific study, which will undoubtedly provide new data on the giant dinosaurs, since they are possibly a new species for science.
The excavations have been financed by the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage of the Government of Aragon and have also had the support of the Camarillas City Council and are part of the postdoctoral research developed by the director of the action Diego Castanera, on the change of fauna in the Jurassic-Cretaceous transit of the Iberian Cordillera and that have been financed by the Agency for the Management of University and Research Grants of the Generalitat of Catalonia (AGAUR) and are also part of the research project of the Aragosaurus-IUCA Group financed by the Ministry of Science.
A site with more than 80 fossils
The site was discovered by Camarillas neighbor Pedro Cirugeda and has allowed the recovery of more than 80 fossils, most of which belong to the sauropod dinosaur.
But theropod (carnivorous) dinosaur teeth and crocodiles have also been found, as well as abundant plant remains.
As a whole, the site provides very interesting information on the ecosystems of the Jurassic-Cretaceous interval, about 145 million years ago.
It may interest you: They discover a species of carnivorous dinosaur in the Catalan Pyrenees