Gardener Digs up Dinosaur Surprise

Keen gardener Bruno Lebie  got more than he bargained for when he was digging in his garden.  He unearthed a ten centimetre bone from a dinosaur’s foot.  The discovery was made on his property, located in Louplande, Pays de la Loire (north-western France), an area that has provided four other similar discoveries in the last two hundred years or so.

Speaking about his fossil find to a local newspaper, Monsieur Lebie stated:

“The bone could have stayed in there, [the garden] it really wasn’t bothering me.  But I said to myself, ‘could that be a dinosaur bone?’  It’s not really my niche.”

A neighbour showed the bone to a friend who knew a little about the local geology of the area and although they were unable to confirm it was a dinosaur bone, they were convinced it was a rare discovery.  Museum officials based at the nearby town of Le Mans, were later able to confirm that the bone was from a dinosaur, identifying it as part of the foot of an Ornithopod.  A photograph of the find was forwarded to Eric Buffetaut, a vertebrate palaeontologist based at the National Centre for Scientific Research, who was able to provide more details as to the object’s identity.

Dinosaur bones do turn up in some odd places, recently team members at Everything Dinosaur reported on the bizarre discovery of another Ornithopod fossil bone, this time in a garden in Sunderland (north-eastern England).

To read more about this story: Strange Place to find a Dinosaur Bone – Sunderland

How a dinosaur bone ended up in Sunderland remains a mystery, as the underlying geology of the area is Permian aged strata, too old for dinosaur bones to be found.  Palaeontologists have speculated that the Sunderland specimen could have resulted from natural re-distribution of material or perhaps it was a “souvenir” taken from southern England and put into the garden by a keen collector.

The bone is estimated to be around 100 million years old.  Ornithopods were a highly diverse clade of dinosaurs, with bird-like hips and a herbivorous diet.  Early Ornithopods were fleet-footed, small bipedal creatures but during the Jurassic and Cretaceous this group rapidly diversified and gave rise to the Hadrosaurs and Iguanodontids, two of the most successful types of dinosaur known.

Ornithopoda Diversity

Mesozoic Marvels – the Ornithopoda

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

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