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Snickers investigates a turtle, whose ancestors originated about 230 million years ago.

Walk Your Dog, Discover a Dinosaur

Walks with my dog, Snickers, are a time for seeing the world from another creature’s point of view. It’s a realm saturated with smell, as he thrusts his nose into shrubs or traces the invisible contours of a sidewalk, and sights best appreciated close to the ground. He penetrates domains that escape my own limited senses.
This is but one pleasure of having a canine companion.
And one that also serves folks with an interest in paleontology.
“I was taking a walk with my dog before going to work,” said Damien Boschetto, a 25-year-old amateur fossil sleuth who resides in Cruzy, France, “and I went into this ravine where we had already found small things, but nothing significant. What I didn’t know was that since my last visit there had been a landslide. And there, on the slope, I saw broken bones….There were bones everywhere!”
Boschetto and his dog had found a titanosaur.
And not the random remains of a 70-million-year-old specimen. The skeleton was in “anatomical connection.” All too often, fossil remains are scattered, defying scientists who attempt to see the creature in its whole, natural form. Measuring about 40 feet in length (10-15 meters), this sizable herbivore was 70 percent complete, comprised of bones in excellent condition.
“It’s as if this dinosaur had died there, and it hadn’t moved,” said Francis Fage, a founder of the local paleontology museum.
Since the initial discovery, the site has yielded several other creatures, including another titanosaur, a rhabdodon, and a small unidentified meat-eater. More research is needed to understand how the area, then a tropical environment, may have contributed to the deaths of the animals, such as a flooding event. The Cruzy region has given up small fossils from all geologic eras, and even a new prehistoric bird species.
Until it could be safely excavated, news of the titanosaur discovery was kept under wraps. On January 31 of this year, most of the skeleton, clad in protective plaster, was lifted by crane near the limestone wall that had recently given new sight to the creature.
Boschetto left his job at a hydrogen generator company to pursue a master’s degree in paleontology and will be able to continue the painstaking work of analyzing his discovery. On the job training that’s close to the heart…


DayFR Euro, 1 February 2024

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