6.5-foot sauropod femur found in France

The massive thigh bone of a sauropod has been found in France. Researchers from the National Museum of Natural History in Paris discovered the femur at the paleontological site of Angeac-Charente near Chateauneuf-sur-Charente in southwestern France. Unearthed in a thick layer of clay, the bone is in excellent condition. It is 140 million years old, 6.5 feet long and weighs 500 kilos (1100 lb), as much the average horse.  A large pelvic bone was also found in the same clay layer near the femur.

Ronan Allain, paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in Paris, added: “We can see the insertions of muscles and tendons, scars.

“This is a very rare find as large pieces tend to collapse on themselves, to fragment.”

Angeac-Charente is the richest site of dinosaur fossils in the country, with more than 7,500 bones found there from an estimated 45 different species of dinosaur since excavations began in 2010, including bones from stegosaurs and a herd of ostrich-like dinosaurs. In addition to whole fossils, more than 66,000 bone fragments have been found there, as well as plants and dinosaur footprints. The site is near the vineyards of Cognac where the famed eponymous brandy is produced, but in the Jurassic the area was a marshland, ideal conditions for capturing, preserving and mineralizing the bones of gigantic animals and other organic remains.

Sauropods first appeared in the Triassic, but became widespread in the Late Jurassic period. They are the largest known herbivorous dinosaurs are among the largest animals ever to roam the earth. The femur is so large that it will take a week to recover and require a crane to raise.

National Museum of Natural History paleontologists are working to reconstruct a sauropod skeleton from the fossils recovered at Angeac-Charente. So far they have more than 50% of a complete sauropod, a composite of bones from several individual specimens unearthed at the site.

3 thoughts on “6.5-foot sauropod femur found in France

  1. Trevor, I have seen a “Franken-Sauropod” already. OK, actually it was not a Sauropod, but a Sauroichthys/ Ichthyosaurus, and it was not Franken but Franconia. In all fairness, I also have to admit that it wa not the complete Sauroichthys (Ichthys=Fish), but its massive head (210cm/6.88ft.), a Leptopterygius trigonodon (Leptonectes).

    They found that thing in 1842 in Upper Franconia, and in 1854 C. Theodori published “Beschreibung des kolossalen Ichthyosaurus trigonodon in der Lokal-Petrefakten-Sammlung zu Banz nebst synoptischer Darstellung der übrigen Ichthyosaurus-Arten in derselben. Mit Abbildungen in natürlicher Größe”, which means that he really included a 6.88ft(!) foldable drawing of the skull.

    The complete saurofish, or that thighbone with meat on it, would probably give a good BBQ.


    Victor von Scheffel (composer of the Franconian anthem, who died in 1886) has published ‘Drinking Song number 677’, “Der Ichthyosaurus” (in: Allgemeines Deutsches Kommersbuch),

    …which –rendered into English– read as this (note: the missing verses 6 and 7, here added and translated by myself):

    ‘The rushes are strangely rustling,
    The ocean uncannily gleams,
    As with tears in his eyes down gushing,
    An Ichthyosaurus swims.

    ‘He bewails the frightful corruption
    Of his age, for an awful tone
    Has lately been noticed by many
    In the Lias formation shown.

    ‘The Plesiosaurus, the elder,
    Goes roaring about on a spree;
    The Pterodactylus even
    Comes flying as drunk as can be.

    ‘The Iguanodon, the blackguard,
    Deserves to be publicly hissed,
    Since he lately in open daylight
    The Ichthyosaura kissed.

    ‘The end of the world is coming,
    Things can’t go on long in this way;
    The Lias formation can’t stand it,
    Is all that I’ve got to say!’

    6. This way lamented the Ichtyosaur,
    His feelings were rather chalky,
    The last of his groans died away in fuming and sizzling waves.

    7. At that point in time Saurianism died out,
    They were too deep into Cre(a)taceous,
    And that, of course, finally sealed their fate.

    And this petrifideal ditty?
    Who was it this song did write?
    ‘Twas found as a fossil album leaf
    Upon a coprolite.

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