World Cup in Brazil Starts Today

Today, the twentieth FIFA World Cup is due to kick off in Brazil.  Heralded as a football festival, thirty-two teams will battle it out over the next month or so for bragging rights as to which country has the best football team in the world, of course there is the prize money too, something like $35 million USD for the winners.  As well as its football, Brazil is famed for its amazing fauna and flora, each year, football tournaments not withstanding, it attracts an ever increasing number of eco-tourists keen to explore the spectacular Amazon, the wetlands of the Pantanal or the Atlantic rainforest.

The geology of Brazil is also fascinating.  As one of the largest countries in the world by area, it is not surprising that virtually every major geological time period from the Phanerozoic is represented.  In the Everything Dinosaur blog, news stories and articles about Brazilian extinct and extant fauna  feature nearly fifty times.  Perhaps the most famous geological formation is the Santana Formation, which is found in the north-east of the country.  The Santana Formation dates from the Cretaceous, this Formation along with the older Crato Formation has provided a vast array of vertebrate fossils.  Fossils excavated from the Santana Formation show exquisite levels of preservation.  For example, stomach contents in fossil fish have been identified and both representatives of the Dinosauria and the Pterosauria have been found.   The fossil rich deposits are regarded as a Lagerstätte (an area with a huge amount of well-preserved fossil material).

To read an article about the discovery of a new genus of Pterosaur from Brazil: New Genus of Cretaceous Flying Reptile from Brazil

A number of huge spinosaurids are known from the Cretaceous-aged strata of Brazil.  There is the fearsome Irritator (I. challengeri).

A Model of the Brazilian Dinosaur Irritator

The dinosaur known as Irritator.

The dinosaur known as Irritator.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Reaching lengths in excess of eight metres, Irritator was a formidable Theropod, but it may not have been the largest Spinosaur to be classed as a “boy from Brazil”.  Back in 2011, team members at Everything Dinosaur reported on the discovery of a fragment of jawbone found in Maranhao State that indicated the existence of a truly colossal Spinosaur.  This dinosaur was named Oxalaia quilombensis.

To read an article about this fossil discovery: Giant Spinosaur from Brazil

Best of luck to all the teams in the tournament, hope the fans enjoy themselves and perhaps in between the matches, a few of them might take the time to visit some of the museums in the country and to appreciate the rich geological heritage of Brazil.

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