Giant Dinosaur Over 80ft Long Discovered in Man's Backyard

A giant dinosaur measuring over 80 feet long has been discovered in a man's backyard in Pombal, Portugal.

The man first noticed fossil remains when having construction work done on his home in 2017, according to a press release. Research teams from the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon then began work uncovering the bones and found what they believe are the remains of one of the biggest sauropod dinosaurs ever found in Europe.

Sauropods were huge, herbivorous dinosaurs that lived from the Upper Jurassic to the Lower Cretaceous period, around 160 to 100 million years ago. The long-necked creatures walked on four legs and were some of the largest animals ever to walk the Earth. Sauropods come under the brachiosauridae family.

Dinosaur Bones
This combination picture shows paleontologists working on the bones of a brachiosaurus found in a man's backyard in Pombal, Portugal, main image, and, inset, a stock image of a brachiosaurus, a sauropod dinosaur. Instituto Dom Luiz Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon /Getty

Researchers concluded that the remains may have belonged to an individual that measured 39 feet high and 82 feet long. According to Elisabete Malafaia, postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, who worked to uncover the remains, the discovery was unusual.

"It is not usual to find all the ribs of an animal like this, let alone in this position, maintaining their original anatomical position. This mode of preservation is relatively uncommon in the fossil record of dinosaurs, in particular sauropods, from the Portuguese Upper Jurassic", Malafaia said in a press release.

Samples of the dinosaur's skeleton, including a vertebrae and ribs, have so far been taken from the site.

Researchers believe there could still be more to uncover because of the preservation characteristics of the fossils already discovered.

"The research in the Monte Agudo paleontological locality confirms that the region of Pombal has an important fossil record of Late Jurassic vertebrates, which in the last decades has provided the discovery of abundant materials very significant for the knowledge of the continental faunas that inhabited the Iberian Peninsula at about 145 million years ago", Malafaia said.

The remains are now being investigated by researchers from the Instituto Dom Luiz at Ciências ULisboa, the Evolutionary Biology Group at UNED-Madrid and the Faculty of Fine Arts at Complutense, University of Madrid.

The specimen that we found possibly corresponds to a brachiosaurid sauropod, which is a group that includes some emblematic Late Jurassic dinosaurs, such as Brachiosaurus from North America or Giraffatitan from Africa and that is also represented in Portugal with the genus Lusotitan. The discovery of this specimen in Pombal adds some information that will help to better know the skeletal morphology of these sauropods and to better understand the evolutionary history of the dinosaur faunas from the Late Jurassic of Portugal.

Malafaia told Newsweek that this discovery will help "to better know the skeletal morphology of these sauropods and to better understand the evolutionary history of the dinosaur faunas from the Late Jurassic of Portugal."

The next stage is to focus on conserving and restoring the fossil, she said.

"The remains were collected in jackets of plaster, some of them still in the sediments. They will now be prepared in a laboratory where the sediments will be removed and the fossils will be stabilized and properly documented. Only after this phase, the fossils will be available for study and eventually will be exhibited in a museum," she said.

The species used their long necks to feast on vegetation in the tree tops and swallowed without chewing. Their necks allowed them to eat a large amount of vegetation while conserving energy by staying on the spot.

Other notable dinosaur species that come under the sauropod family include the Brachiosaurus altithorax, Giraffatitan brancai and another species found in the west of Portugal, Lusotitan atalaiensis.

Update 8/26/22 4:00 a.m ET: This article was updated to include quotes from Elisabete Malafaia.

Dino
This photo shows a team of paleontologists with the uncovered bones of a giant dinosaur discovered in a man's backyard in Pombal, Portugal. Photo courtesy of Instituto Dom Luiz Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon) (Portugal.