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They find in Teruel a spine of more than five meters of a huge dinosaur

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 spine more than five meters, with at least 15 articulated neck and back vertebrae of a giant dinosaur, which 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

Diego Castanera, paleontologist

“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, is one of the largest in Europe ”, highlights the paleontologist Diego Castanera, postdoctoral researcher, who has led this work together with Jose Ignacio Canudo, Principal Investigator of the Aragosaurus-IUCA group of the University of Zaragoza.

During the last 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.

First of all, after the excavation and protection with plaster of the vertebrae it was necessary to separate the block into two parts, to avoid that the “mummy”(Technical name used to refer to 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” 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 that will undoubtedly provide new data on the giant dinosaurs, since it is 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 which 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 the Camarillas neighbor Pedro Cirugeda and has allowed the recovery of more than 80 fossils, of which most belong to the sauropod dinosaur.

But dinosaur teeth have also been found theropods (carnivores) and of crocodiles, as well as abundant plant remains.

As a whole, the site provides very interesting information on the ecosystems of the Jurassic-Cretaceous interval, some 145 million years.

Rights: Creative Commons.

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