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Man Found a 70-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Fossil But Kept It Secret

Image of the Titanosaur, Patagotitan
Image of the Titanosaur, Patagotitan. A similar 70-million-year-old dinosaur fossil found by a man. Credit: Zissoudisctrucker / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

A man stumbled upon a seventy-million-year-old dinosaur fossil while walking his dog. He found it in Montouliers, Hérault, France about two years ago. However, he and local archaeologists decided to keep it a secret. This was because they were worried that vandals could damage the fossil.

The man’s name is Damien Boschetto, aged 25. He reported the find to the cultural, archaeological, and paleontological association in the nearby town of Cruzy.

Experts from the association examined the fossil. They concluded that it was a nearly complete, thirty-foot-long fossilized titanosaur, as reported by Business Insider.

1.7 billion Tyrannosaurus rexes lived 66 million years ago

Paleontologists often unearth bones from creatures that roamed the Earth millions of years ago. Stumbling upon a fully intact fossilized dinosaur skeleton, however, is extremely rare.

A study suggests there were about 1.7 billion Tyrannosaurus rexes around 66 to 68 million years ago. Nonetheless, scientists have only found fossilized remains of fewer than a hundred of them.

Charles Marshall, along with his students, revealed that approximately twenty thousand adult T. rexes likely inhabited the region at any given time with a margin of error of around a factor of ten.

Marshall pointed to the size of the Tyrannosaurus rex population throughout its roughly two and a half million years on Earth. Based on his own team’s calculations, an estimated two and a half billion of these predators roamed the land and eventually met their end during this extensive period.

Titanosaurs were a type of sauropod, which were plant-eating dinosaurs with particularly long necks, as Encyclopedia Britannica explains. These gigantic herbivores were among the largest dinosaurs ever known. They roamed the Earth from around 150 to 66 million years ago, and they could be found on every continent.

Newly discovered titanosaur fossil is 70 percent complete

Researchers found that the titanosaur fossil discovered by Boschetto is approximately seventy percent complete, according to Newsweek.

“While walking the dog, a landslide on the edge of the cliff exposed the bones of various skeletons,” Boschetto said, according to the outlet, adding: “They were fallen bones, therefore isolated. We realized after a few days of excavations that they were connected bones.”

Boschetto and the researchers decided to keep the discovery under wraps for two years to safeguard the site from vandals.

Once the researchers finish studying the bones, Boschetto’s titanosaur will be showcased at the Cruzy Museum. The museum already houses another titanosaur femur discovered in 2012.

Boschetto, who described himself as a paleontology enthusiast, spoke with The Washington Post, as did Francis Fages, the director of the Cruzy Museum. According to Fages, Boschetto’s volunteer work at the museum over the past two years had significantly contributed to its paleontology department.

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