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A man stumbled upon a 70-million-year-old dinosaur fossil but kept it secret for 2 years

  • A man in France found a massive dinosaur skeleton while walking his dog.

  • The titanosaur skeleton is nearly 70% complete.

  • The discovery was kept under wraps to preserve the site but sparked a career change for the man who found it.

A man happened upon a 70 million-year-old fossil while walking his dog, but he and local archeologists kept it a secret for two years over fears that vandals would tamper with the find.

Damien Boschetto, 25, made the discovery in Montouliers near Hérault, France, about two years ago, according to Newsweek.

Boschetto reported the discovery to the Cultural, Archaeological, and Paleontological Association in the nearby city of Cruzy, according to the outlet.

The group determined the fossil to be a nearly complete, 30-foot-long fossilized titanosaur.

While paleontologists routinely dig up bones from animals that existed millions of years ago, it is incredibly rare to find an entirely intact fossilized dinosaur skeleton. For instance, one study estimates 1.7 billion Tyrannosaurus rexes lived between 66 million and 68 million years ago, but scientists have only recovered fossilized remains of fewer than 100 of them.

Titanosaurs were a subgroup of sauropods, plant eaters with very long necks, according to Encyclopedia Brittanica. The massive herbivores are some of the largest known dinosaurs and lived between 66 million and 150 million years ago on every continent.

Researchers discovered the titanosaur fossil discovered by Boschetto to be around 70% complete, according to Newsweek.

s. “While walking the dog, a landslide on the edge of the cliff exposed the bones of various skeletons,” Boschetto said, according to the outlet. “They were fallen bones, therefore isolated. We realized after a few days of excavations that they were connected bones.”

Boschetto and the researchers kept the discovery under wraps for two years to protect the site from vandals, according to Newsweek.

When researchers are finished studying the bones, Boschetto’s titanosaur will soon be on display at the Cruzy Museum, which is also home to another titanosaur femur uncovered in 2012.

Boschetto told The Washington Post that he is a paleontology enthusiast. Cruzy Museum director, Francis Fages, told the Post that Boschetto’s volunteering at the museum over the past two years has been valuable for its paleontology department.

“These discoveries are interesting from a scientific point of view because they contribute to the understanding of the species and ecosystems of the late Cretaceous of France and Europe,” Fages told the outlet.

Boschetto quit his job in the energy sector in September to pursue a master’s degree in paleontology, according to the Post.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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