The biggest and most complete dinosaur ever found in Italy is among the remains of up to 11 such creatures uncovered by paleontologists.
A site known as Villaggio del Pescatore was discovered near Trieste and contained fossilized skeletons of the Tethyshadros species.
Researchers said the dinosaur lived on an island of the European archipelago in the Tethys Ocean 80 million years ago.
Found at Villaggio del Pescatore, near Trieste were fossilised skeletons that belonged to Tethyshadros Insularis.
In this study, the new study reveals that Bruno is an adult Tethyshadros.
It had been believed that the first Tethyshadros insularis skeleton found at the site was a ‘dwarf species’, but the latest study by the University of Bologna disputes this.
After discovering another skeleton named Bruno that was larger and could still be growing, the experts concluded that ‘Antonio,’ as the original skeleton was called, was in fact a young dinosaur.
Geologists had previously said the Villaggio del Pescatore site, dubbed a ‘dinosaur trove’, was part of an island in the middle of a ‘proto-Mediterranean’ ocean called Tethys.
This led to experts incorrectly identifying Antonio as a ‘dwarf’ species because they thought it was an example of the so-called ‘island rule’ — the evolutionary miniaturisation of bigger animals in an insular environment due to the scarcity of resources.
Skeletal reconstructions for the Tethyshadros Insularis dinosaurs. Below, the younger specimen is called “Antonio” and below, the older, newer skeleton of “Bruno”.
Under the microscope the bones of Antonio, showing bone cells (black circles dots). To calculate the death date of dinosaurs, the fossilised bones tissues were examined.
According to the study, there was at most seven or more dinosaurs in Villaggio del Pescatore
The study found there were at least seven and probably 11 dinosaur skeletons at Villaggio del Pescatore, as well as the remains of fish, crocodiles, flying reptiles and even small crustaceans.
It also suggests that the site is about 10 million years older than previously thought, dating back around 80 million years to the Cretaceous period.
The land that is now northern-eastern Italy was once a large oceanic area but it was connected to Asia and western Europe at the time.
It means that small islands were not the only thing to make up the ancient Mediterranean. However, large-sized terrestrial animals such as the dinosaurs could have migrated across the land bridges between what is now Italy and Italy.
The research has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.
The Skull of “Bruno”, the recently described skeleton from the dinosaur Tethyshadros Insularis, is the skull
Villaggio del Pescatore is a paleontological site, where experts are working to recover fossils from the “dinosaur treasure trove”.