The remains of what could be the largest dinosaur ever found in Europe have been discovered in a garden in Portugal.
Excavation work began in the city garden of Pombal in 2017, when the owner of the property noticed fossilized bone fragments and contacted researchers from the University of Lisbon.
Earlier this month, Spanish and Portuguese paleontologists working at the site began unearthing the vertebrae and ribs of what they believe to be a brachiosaurid sauropod.
Sauropods were the largest of all dinosaurs and the largest land animals to ever live.
“It is not usual to find all the ribs of an animal like this, let alone in this position, maintaining their original anatomical position”, Elisabete Malafaia, post-doctoral researcher at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, says the Phys.org website.
The sauropod group – which includes Brontosaurus and Diplodocus – were herbivores, had long necks and walked on four legs.
The size of the bones found in the garden suggests that the dinosaur was 12 meters high and 25 meters long.
Due to the natural position the skeleton was found in, researchers hope that further excavations can uncover more parts of the same dinosaur.
The skeleton was found in Upper Jurassic sedimentary rocks, suggesting it is around 150 million years old.
“[This discovery] confirms that the Pombal region has an important fossil record of vertebrates from the Upper Jurassic, which in recent decades has provided the discovery of abundant material very important for the knowledge of the continental faunas that inhabited the Iberian Peninsula around 145 million years ago. ‘years,’ Malafaia added.