Mon, 31 Dec 2007 13:35 CST
The fossil bones of what may have been Europe's largest animal ever, a new type of dinosaur, have been discovered in Spain. Discovery of the sauropod, estimated to have weighed between 40 and 48 tons, is reported in Friday's issue of the journal Science.
Named Turiasaurus riodevensis, the animal lived in the Teruel area of what is now Spain in the late Jurassic period, about 150 million years ago.
The remains were found by a team led by Rafael Royo-Torres of the Joint Paleontology Foundation Teruel-Dinopolis.
In the past such large dinosaurs have primarily been found in Africa and the New World.
"The humerus the long bone in the foreleg that runs from the shoulder to the elbow was as large as an adult" human, Brooks Hanson, a Science deputy editor, said in a statement. The claw of the first digit of its pes, or hoof, is the size of an NFL football.
The researchers found several other bones as well and were able to group the new find with other remains from Portugal, France and Britain into a new clade, or branch, of dinosaurs that has more-primitive limb and bone structures than other giants.
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