Fossils of a giant Sauropod, found in Teruel Spain, reveal that Europe was home to giant dinosaurs in the Late Jurassic period -- about 150 million years ago. Giant dinosaurs have previously been found mainly in the New World and Africa.
This dinosaur may have been the most massive terrestrial animal in Europe.
The findings are published in the 22 December 2006 issue of the journal Science, published by AAAS, the nonprofit science society.
Researchers from the Fundacin Conjunto Paleontolgico de Teruel-Dinpolis found dozens of sauropod bone fossils at the Barrihonda-El Humero site the Riodeva village, Teruel, Spain.
The new sauropod, Turiasaurus riodevensis, is named for the Teruel area (Turia) and the village where it was found.
The turiasaurus is estimated to have weighed between 40 and 48 tons (the weight of six or seven adult male elephants) and is comparable to the world's largest known dinosaurs, including Argentinosaurus and Brachiosaurus. At its estimated length, between 30 and 37 meters, the sauropod would be as long as an NBA basketball court. "The humerus the long bone in the foreleg that runs from the shoulder to the elbow was as large as an adult," said Brooks Hanson, Science's deputy editor, physical sciences. The claw of the first digit of its pes, or hoof, is the size of an NFL football.
In addition to the humerus, researchers also found fragments of skull, scapula, femur, tibia and fibula, as well as teeth, vertebrae, ribs and phalanges.
The characteristics of the new dinosaur allows the authors to group several sauropod remains from Portugal, France, United Kingdom and other Spanish areas in a new clade, or branch, o
Contact: Natasha Pinol
American Association for the Advancement of Science