Welcome to Italy’s ‘dinosaur camp’! Remains of up to 11 creatures discovered near Trieste date back 80 million years – including the largest and most complete dinosaur EVER found in the country.
The largest and most complete dinosaur ever found in Italy is among the remains of 11 such creatures discovered by paleontologists.
Fossil skeletons belonging to the species Tethyshadros insularis were discovered at a site called Villaggio del Pescatore near Trieste.
Researchers said this dinosaur lived on an island in the European archipelago in the Tethys Ocean 80 million years ago.
Fossilized skeletons of the species Tethyshadros insularis (pictured in an artist’s impression) were discovered at a site called Villaggio del Pescatore near Trieste
The skeleton of Bruno, an adult Tethyshadros insularis, is described in this new study
Diet : Herbivores
Size: 13ft long (4 meters)
Known locations : Italy
Time period : Late Campanian of the Cretaceous period
It is believed that the first Tethyshadros insularis skeleton found at the site was a ‘pygmy species’, but the latest research from the University of Bologna disputes this.
The team of experts said ‘Antonio’, as the first skeleton was called, was actually a young dinosaur after discovering another named ‘Bruno’ was larger and may still be growing at the time it died.
Geologists previously said the Villaggio del Pescatore site, dubbed the ‘dinosaur cave’, was part of a ‘pre-Mediterranean’ mid-ocean island called Tethys.
This led to experts incorrectly identifying Antonio as a ‘dwarf’ because they believed it was an example of the so-called ‘island rule’ – the evolutionary shrinking of large animals than in an unlike environment due to resource scarcity.
Reconstructed skeletons of two Tethyshadros insularis dinosaurs, with the younger specimen nicknamed ‘Antonio’ above and the older, newly described skeleton of ‘Bruno’ below
Bones of ‘Antonio’ under a microscope, showing bone cells (black circular dots). Fossil bone tissues were analyzed to calculate the age of the dinosaur at the time of death
Research suggests there were at least 7 and possibly 11 species of dinosaurs at Villaggio del Pescatore
Research shows there are at least seven and possibly 11 dinosaur skeletons at Villaggio del Pescatore, as well as remains of fish, crocodiles, flying reptiles and even small crustaceans.
It also shows that the site is about 10 million years older than previously thought, dating back about 80 million years to the Cretaceous period.
At that time, what is now northeastern Italy was a land facing the vast ocean but connected to Western Europe and Asia.
This means that not only were the small islands that made up the ancient Mediterranean, but many migration routes of large land animals such as dinosaurs could have been made via land bridges which today we call Italy.
The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports .
The skull of ‘Bruno’, the newly described skeleton of the dinosaur Tethyshadros insularis
Villaggio del Pescatore paleontological site, with experts working to extract fossils from ‘dinosaur cave’
KILLING THE DINOSAURS: HOW A CITY-SIZED ASTEROID SPREADED 75 EACH MIDDLE OF ALL ANIMAL AND PLANT SPECIES
About 66 million years ago, non-avian dinosaurs were wiped out, and more than half of the world’s species were wiped out.
This mass extinction paved the way for the rise of mammals and the emergence of humans.
Asteroid Chicxulub is often considered a potential cause of the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event.
The asteroid crashed into a shallow sea in what is now the Gulf of Mexico.
The collision released a huge cloud of dust and soot that caused global climate change, wiping out 75% of plant and animal species.
The soot needed for such a global disaster could only have come from direct impact on rocks in the shallow waters around Mexico, which are especially rich in hydrocarbons, the researchers assert.
Experts believe that within 10 hours of the collision, a massive tsunami swept across the Gulf coast.
About 66 million years ago, non-avian dinosaurs were wiped out, and more than half of the world’s species were wiped out. Asteroid Chicxulub is often considered a potential cause of the Cretaceous-Paleozoic extinction event (archive photo)
This has caused earthquakes and landslides in areas as far away as Argentina.
While investigating the event, researchers found small rock particles and other debris that were shot into the air when the asteroid impacted.
Called orbs, these tiny particles cover the planet with a thick layer of soot.
Experts explain that the loss of light from the sun has caused the aquatic system to completely collapse.
This is because the phytoplankton base of most aquatic food chains has been eliminated.
It is believed that more than 180 million years of evolution that brought the world to the Cretaceous period were destroyed in less time than the lifespan of the Tyrannosaurus rex, which is about 20 to 30 years.