Dinosaurs discovered in Italy. Image courtesy of https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-02490-x#Fig2

Herd of fossilised dinosaurs uncovered in Italy

By Region Environment News North-east Italy

The most complete dinosaur skeleton ever discovered in Italy. It is part of  a herd of 11 dinosaurs, near Trieste.

Dinosaur remains have been discovered in Italy since the 1990s but none in such numbers. Palaentologists identified an entire her of 11 dinosaurs at Villagio del Pescatore, clost to Trieste. A former limestone quarry, the discovery also includes the biggest and most complete dinosaur skeleton ever discovered in Italy.

80 million years old

The fossils belong to the species Tethyshadros insularis, which lived 80 million years ago. This species could grow up to five metres in length.

“Italy is not known for dinosaurs and, although we had a few lucky strikes in the past, now we have a whole herd at one dinosaur site,” said Federico Fanti, a professor at the University of Bologna. Fanti is the leader of a research team whose findings have been published in the Scientific Reports journal.

However, it is not the first time Villaggio del Pescatore has been identified for dinosaur remains. In 1996, palaeontologists found a dinosaur skeleton they named Antonio. They initially believed it was a “dwarf species”. However, following the latest discoveries, it is possible Antonio is a young dinosaur, part of the same herd.

Bruno – the biggest dinosaur remains in Italy

The largest of the fossilised remains among the group has been named Bruno.

“Bruno is the biggest and oldest of the group, and the most complete dinosaur skeleton ever found in Italy,” said Fanti. “We knew there were dinosaurs at the site after the discovery of Antonio, but up until now nobody actually checked to see how many. What we have now are multiple bones belonging to the same herd,” The Guardian reported.

Alongside the dinosaurs, fossilised remains of fish, crocodiles, flying reptiles and even small shrimp have also been found. 80 million years ago, this area of Italy formed part of the ancient Mediterranean area.

“This is super cool as we can figure out the kind of environment the dinosaurs lived and died in,” added Fanti. “During that period, the area was very close to the shoreline in a tropical, warm and humid environment capable of feeding herds of dinosaurs.”

Some of the fossils so far found at Villaggio del Pescatore, a protected area, are on display at the civic museum of natural history in Trieste.

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