Dinosaur Mass Grave Unearthed in Switzerland
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August 10, 2007

Dinosaur Mass Grave Unearthed in Switzerland

Raul_martin_3 Like a scene from those old adventure movies about elephant burial grounds, an amateur paleontologist in Switzerland has discovered what appears to be Europe's largest dinosaur graveyard.

"A hobby paleontologist looked at a construction site for a house and happened to discover the bones," said Monica Ruembeli from the Frick dinosaur museum.

Martin Sander, a dinosaur paleontologist at the university of Bonn in Germany says the Frick area contains the bones of one animal per 100 square meters, and that the entire area may contain bones of more than 100 Plateosaurus.

Plateosaurus was of the first of the herbivores during the late Triassic period. They measured up to 10 meters from head to tail and weighed almost two tons each. It had a long neck, very long tail, a small head with a long snout, and huge five-fingered hands with a large thumb claw.

The Plateosaurus probably used its hands for grasping in addition to walking. Scientists believe it was able to rear up on its muscular hind legs in order to graze on tall conifers and cycads. Its sharp teeth allowed it to rip through tough foilage. It probably also swallowed pebbles or gizzard stones (gastroliths) to help grind up the food in their stomachs.

They roamed ancient river deltas in great herds some 210 million years ago when Switzerland was covered with desert and its landscape probably looked similar to how the estuary of the Nile river area looks today.

Posted by Rebecca Sato

Image Courtesy of famed palentological illustrator, Raul Martin


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Comments

What a lucky find. He goes to build a home and discoveres something so great!


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