Remains of a dinosaur from 129 million years ago found

Piece of the dinosaur remains. / Ministry of Culture of Castilla-La Mancha

The bone remains have been found in a limestone rock from a site in Cuenca

JML Basin

The bone remains of what was a dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous -about 129 million years ago- have been found in a large block of limestone, weighing several tons, at the Buenache de la Sierra site (Cuenca). The remains are already in the Paleontological Museum of Castilla-La Mancha, in Cuenca, for their detailed study with mechanical and chemical methodology and thus ensure their conservation.

According to paleontologists from the Autonomous University of Madrid who work at the Buenache de la Sierra site, this area belongs to the same ecosystem as the Las Hoyas site, in La Cierva (Cuenca), made up of lithographic limestone formations that preserve the fossilized remains that accumulated at the bottom of a freshwater lagoon, a wetland with a tropical climate that belonged to the Tethys Sea archipelago.

For this reason, researchers have surveyed the area between Buenache de la Sierra and Las Hoyas, about 5 kilometers away, to improve knowledge of the outcrops of laminated limestone in the formation known as La Huérguina. The discovery of this remains adds to that of a large fossil of about 120 million years found in the 2020 excavations of Buenache de la Sierra that contained fragments of several archosaurs, that is, dominant reptiles such as dinosaurs, crocodiles or the pterosaurs (flying reptiles), all of them medium-sized and large individuals as they are juveniles and adults. One of them, according to the team of paleontologists who worked on the excavation, measured more than three meters in height and six meters in length.

Also in this area, footprints of a theropod (carnivorous dinosaur) have been discovered in a large rock. Curiously, the animal suffered from a limp, a conclusion paleontologists have reached when analyzing its tracks. All these animals inhabited what is now the Serranía de Cuenca, which in the Lower Cretaceous was a marshy wetland with a subtropical climate.

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