Excavators discover massive dinosaur graveyard in Spain

December 11th, 2007 - 2:05 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, December 11 (ANI): Researchers have discovered a spectacular dinosaur “graveyard” in eastern Spain, which contains thousands of fossils.

Experts excavating the site have revealed that eight different dinosaur species have been identified among the 8,000 fossils found to date.

The dinosaur species identified include several kinds of armour-clad plant-eaters that were among the world’s largest types of dinosaur.

The fossils, about 70 million-year old, were uncovered last June during the construction of a high-speed rail link near the city of Cuenca.

Scientists believe that these fossils may represent the largest and most diverse dinosaur site known in Europe.

Jose Luis Sanz, a palaeontologist of Autonomous University in Madrid, says that the fossils show a stunning array of dinosaur diversity for a period that is very poorly known in Western Europe.

“We are sure that in future, (once we have) studied the huge amount of fossil material recovered from the site, the diversity will increase,” the National Geographic quoted Sanz, who is in charge of the dig, as saying in an email.

The fossils date to some four million years before the dinosaurs went extinct, shedding new light “on these last European dinosaur ecosystems,” he added.

According to him, excavations at the site called Lo Hueco indicate that the dominant plant-eaters of the period were massive, long-necked sauropods called titanosaurs, a group generally thought to include the largest animals ever to have walked the Earth.

“Titanosaurs are by far the most abundant dinosaur remains at Lo Hueco,” Sanz said.

The excavations have also led to the discovery of fossils from a couple of two-legged, meat-eating dinosaurs, one of which was a six-foot-long (1.8-meter-long) dromaeosaur, a fearsomely clawed carnivore.

The identified kinds of dinosaurs also include a small, stocky Rhabdodon with large blunt teeth for grinding up vegetation, and an ankylosaur, a heavily built, squat plant-eater with a big bony club on the end of its tail for whacking predators.

According to the dig team, the fossils were found grouped together in clay and silt sediments, an indication that a river might have created the dinosaur graveyard.

“Flooding maybe was responsible for the accumulation of carcasses,” Sanz said.

He further said that the site might provide further clues to understanding the demise of the dinosaurs some 66 million years ago. (ANI)

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