French palaeontologists found the thigh bone of a giant dinosaur this week at an excavation site in a winegrowing village in southwestern France, where remains of some of the largest animals that ever lived on land have been dug up since 2010.
The unearthed “national treasure” is 140-million years old and weighs 400 kilogrammes (880 pounds), and was found in the site near the city of Cognac where more than 7,500 fossils of more than 40 different species have been found since 2010, making it one of the largest such finds in Europe, Ronan Allain, a palaeontologist at the National History Museum of Paris told Reuters.
Thanks to its remarkably good condition, the femur, which scientists say probably belonged to a gigantic sauropod, could help piece together another incomplete set of bones which the latest find resembles.
The discovery might belong to the largest land animals ever to roam the Earth, known as Sauropods. They were massive plant-eating dinosaurs with long necks and tails, towering up to 18 metres (59 feet) tall.
“It cost me a bit of money, because I had promised to bring champagne if it was complete,” said Jean-Francois Tournepiche, the operations coordinator at what he calls “one of Europe’s biggest dinosaur sites”.
Angeac-Charente is known to have been the home to a vast ecosystem of dinosaurs, invertebrates and vegetation thanks to its humid, subtropical climate millions of years ago.
With more discoveries expected on the horizon, the site’s owners have given diggers the go-ahead to excavate in another 4,000 square metres.