Nearly complete dinosaur skeleton found

A nearly perfect dinosaur skeleton was discovered by a Portuguese palaeontologist in the municipality of Lourinhã, and is believed to be one of the most complete skeletons of a 150 million-year-old dinosaur ever found in the world. The discovery’s announcement was made on Tuesday, September 3.

“It is surely the most complete dinosaur we have ever found in Portugal, and one of the most complete of the late Jurassic period across the world. This will allow us to study how dinosaurs evolved and how, in this case, they evolved into birds,” said palaeontologist Octávio Mateus, who works as an investigator at the Lourinhã Museum and at Lisbon university Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

The fossilised bones must still be analysed in a laboratory. Hopes that they may have belonged to an unknown species are growing, but Mateus believes they came from a coelurosaur, a group of rare small carnivorous dinosaurs under two metres long from the late Jurassic period. The palaeontologist found the dinosaur during summer excavations in Lourinhã, an area well-known for previous findings. The skeleton was nearly complete from its shoulders to its waist, had its ribs very well conserved and all of its joints were connected, still containing the knee area and a foot.

“It is unusual in Lourinhã, because we normally find a couple of scattered bones. When we actually do find something more, it is disjointed,” he said, adding that the coelurosaurs were known for being found with missing teeth and bones.

“Therefore, this is the first complete coelurosaur,” he concluded.

Dinosaur footprints were also found in the diggings, one of which was 1.20 metres long, making it one of the largest known-to-date, as well as a jaw of a rare mammal.