Man Accidentally Finds Dinosaur Bone up to 200m Years Old in Rubble

A U.S. college professor has discovered a dinosaur bone up to 200 million years old whilst walking through a university campus.

Mark McMenamin is a professor of geology at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. He and his wife discovered the fossil whilst strolling through the grounds of University of Massachusetts Amherst in August, 2021.

There was construction work going on at the time, and McMenamin's wife Dianna asked the workers if she could take some rocks home with her for an ornamental garden. They said yes, and together the couple collected about 15 to 20 rounded stones.

Later, McMenamin noticed that the texture of one of the rocks was fossil-like.

No stranger to fossils, McMenamin carried out testing on the 12.3 cm diameter object using an X-ray scanning technique and found that it was the elbow bone of a type of predatory dinosaur known as a neotheropod.

In a study outlining his find, McMenamin said the animal might have been "one of the largest land neotheropods of the Early Jurassic," estimating that it was around 30 feet long. The Jurassic period is thought to have extended from 201.3 million years ago to 145 million years ago.

The name neotheropod is derived from a family of dinosaurs called Theropoda, which means "beast foot" after their curved claws. Neotheropods in particular are new theropods.

These dinosaurs were characterized by hollow limb bones, bladelike teeth, and their preference to walk on two legs, according to the University of Maryland.

McMenamin thinks that the neotheropod could have regularly eaten freshwater fish back when it was around, and speculates that it might even have had an aquatic or semi-aquatic lifestyle.

McMenamin's study outlining the fossil's discovery, titled "Large neotheropod from the Lower Jurassic of Massachusetts," was published to ResearchGate in September 2021.

It's not the only dinosaur discovery to have been made in recent months. In November last year, paleontologists identified a new species of dinosaur in Brazil that is thought to have been toothless.

The fossilized skeleton of the dinosaur, dubbed Berthasaura leopoldinae, was dated to between 70 and 80 million years ago. The animal itself is thought to have been around 3 feet long and 2.5 feet high and is also thought to have belonged to the Therapoda group of dinosaurs.

More recently, researchers reported the discovery of a well-preserved skeleton belonging to a member of a new species of pterosaur (flying reptiles that lived alongside the dinosaurs). It's thought to have had a wingspan of more than 8.2 feet.

A stock photo depicts a paleontologist dusting off a fossil. A fossil belonging to a type of dinosaur called a neotheropod was discovered in Massachusetts. LuFeeTheBear/Getty