Almost intact young Therapod fossil found in Bavaria

Paleontologists in Kelheim, Bavaria, have discovered the fossil of a young dinosaur that is 98% intact, including some remains of skin and hair. This makes young Otto, as the fellow has been dubbed, the most intact dinosaur skeleton ever found in Europe. The exact species has yet to be identified, but it belongs to the theropod suborder, a group of mainly flesh eaters whose most famous member is Tyrannosaurus Rex.

The fossil, named Otto by the paleontological team, is approximately 135 million years old. It was discovered between one and two years ago on a riverbank but the find was not announced until last Sunday to ensure the excavators would not be interfered with. The find site is still being kept secret, as is the name of the landowner who is now the proud papa of a bouncing baby theropod.

Oliver Rauhut, curator of the Bavarian State Collection for Palaeontology and Geology in Munich, says it’s “probably the most significant new theropod fossil archosaurs from German soil since the discoveries of the ancient bird Archaeopteryx.”

Though the 72-centimeter juvenile dinosaur is preserved in stone, a number of anatomical details remain. “The best-preserved Tyrannosaurus we have are about 80 percent preserved, and that is already terrific,” said Rauhut, comparing the two theropods, which are among the rarest dinosaur fossils.

Most of the fossils in this group exist in only fragments, said Dan Ravasz, spokesman for the upcoming mineral exhibition, The Munich Show, a trade fair dedicated to minerals, germs, jewellery and fossils that runs for four days starting on Oct. 27.

The experts aren’t certain just how old the dinosaur was when it died, though they estimate that a freshly hatched Tyrannosaurus would have been about the same size. They were able to determine that the specimen is young by measuring the size of its skull, body proportions and the bone surface. Learning more about young dinosaurs is important for scientists to understand more about their evolutionary process.

The German government has declared Otto a German cultural asset. That designation lowers its market value considerably by ensuring that it cannot leave the country. It will be on display for the full four days of The Munich Show, but after that its fate is uncertain. It appears that a permanent loan is being set up between the owner and the government so that Otto can go on display in a German museum.


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Comment by toxic
2011-10-13 01:48:29

I guess I’m unclear about the meaning of the term “cultural asset”, but it would seem to me that to be a cultural item it shouldn’t predate the human species by 134.8 million years.

Comment by livius drusus
2011-10-14 10:56:24

I imagine the law defines cultural asset in such a way to ensure pre-historical artifacts are included. It’s not just an awkward translation because the name of the act is “Gesetz zum Schutz deutschen Kulturgutes gegen Abwanderung” which despite my nonexistent German I can see uses the world culture.

Comment by Waidmann
2011-10-13 10:43:46

When they say it’s about 76cm, where are they measuring that from? Is that body size (head to butt)? Or head to tip of tail? Thirty inches (MOL) isn’t that big.


Comment by livius drusus
2011-10-14 10:47:05

Nose to tip of tail, I believe, but none of the articles I read about it make that explicit. It’s very small indeed, which makes it a rare juvenile or it could even a new species.

Comment by Miss Sophie
2011-10-15 09:34:40

Otto, the little ‘Bavarosaurus Rex’ :D

… Besides, it probably takes ‘culture’ to value an -even prehistoric- ‘cultural asset’.

If I got it right, it’s 150 million years old, instead of 135. Back then, Bavaria was an island, in shape similar to the UK today.


Comment by livius drusus
2011-10-15 10:26:16

You did indeed get it right. The initial statement got the age range wrong, although they did get the era — the Jurassic — right. :giggle: @ Bavarosaurus Rex

Comment by Anonymous
2011-10-16 13:59:33

Law for the protection of German cultural artifacts against dispersal

Comment by Rebecca Smith
2012-02-28 12:51:54

hahaaaa HAIR !! I love it!! I can remember being a kid and ‘scientists’ said all dinosaurs were lizard/reptiles, cold blooded, etc. and all had brains the size of a walnut.

I often wondered how they survived for 200 million years being so stupid and so easily frozen.

I love how much the information has changed over the past 40 years, and it also proves that when people say they know what happened 100 million years ago, THEY DON’T.


Comment by Rebecca Smith
2012-02-28 12:57:35

I believe the article says it is definitely a juvenile, and a type related to T-Rex! Look at the arms! They are tiny, with only either 2 or 3 fingers. Typical of this type of meat eater. The arms only stick out from the elbow to the fingertips. The “shoulder to elbow” is under the skin, kind of like a chicken’s thighs are.

THAT IS SO COOOOL !!!! :boogie: :lol:

Comment by Mike M
2015-10-10 23:30:20

Is it just me, or does that look like a backwards-pointing penis on the verge of impregnating a baby female friend!? :confused:

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