Amateur Paleontologist Discovers 70-Million-Year-Old Fossil While Walking His Dog

Artist rendering of a titanosaur

Photo: Pixelchaos/Depositphotos

Amateur paleontologist Damien Boschetto could never have suspected the surprise that awaited him when he ventured out on a walk with his dog Muffin two years ago. They'd set off to examine a recently crumbled cliff, and, to Boschetto's surprise, when they arrived, he saw a bone sticking out of the ground. But this wasn't any ordinary bone—it was a dinosaur bone.

Boschetto, who lives in the French commune of Cruzy, wasn't too surprised though, as he shared in a recent interview. “It happened one morning like any other, during an ordinary walk,” he said. “The territory around Cruzy is rich in fossils of dinosaurs and other species living at the same time.”

The bone that Boschetto stumbled upon belonged to a 70-million-year-old titanosaur. These long-necked herbivores lived in the Late Jurassic Epoch and were some of the largest terrestrial animals. There are 40 different known species of titanosaurs, and the bone Boschetto found led to further excavations that revealed a 70% complete skeleton.


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A post shared by Damien Boschetto (@damienboschetto)

This is remarkable because while many titanosaur bones are unearthed in Europe, it's rare to find them anatomically connected. Finding the nearly 10-meter-long (32.8-foot-long) fossil in this condition means that it was likely buried before the dinosaur's body began to decompose.

Boschetto, who belongs to the Cruzy Museum's Archaeological and Paleontological Cultural Association, assisted in the excavation. Over the course of two years, they worked tirelessly at the site, which turned out to be a bone bed. This means that it not only contained the titanosaur fossils but also included fossils of another herbivore—the Rhabdodon—as well as crocodiles and carnivores like Theropods.

Now that the titanosaur skeleton has been safely transferred to the Cruzy Museum's laboratory, the association is able to reveal the discovery without compromising the safety of the site.

Boschetto is proud of his discovery and hopes that it will bring even more eyes to the museum and what the area has to offer. “It is a flagship piece,” he shares, “for the general public to be able to admire a dinosaur in anatomical connection like that.”

In 2022, while out walking his dog, French amateur paleontologist Damien Boschetto discovered a 70-million-year-old dinosaur skeleton.


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A post shared by Damien Boschetto (@damienboschetto)

The 32-foot-long skeleton belongs to a titanosaur, which was one of the largest land animals of the Late Jurassic Epoch.


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A post shared by Damien Boschetto (@damienboschetto)

h/t: [CNN]

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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