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Swiss unearth giant dinosaur bone

A Swiss palaeontologist sizes up the find. Saurier Museum Aathal

Swiss palaeontologists have uncovered a huge bone belonging to one of the biggest dinosaurs to have walked the Earth.

This content was published on September 8, 2003 - 08:36

The 1.75-metre-long shoulder blade, which was found in the American state of Wyoming, is believed to be part of the 35-metre-long skeleton of a seismosaurus.

The seismosaurus was a 30-ton plant-eater which lived during the Jurassic period around 150 million years ago. The “earth-shaking lizard” could grow up to 50 metres in length.

The team from the Dinosaur Museum in Aathal near Zurich told swissinfo they couldn’t believe their luck when they found the giant bone.

And they are optimistic that there are more remains of the long-necked dinosaur to be found.

“It’s the biggest bone we have ever found so we really hope that there is more of this skeleton,” said team member Yolanda Siber.

“However, our season is very short and we already need to think of packing up for this year, but we are sure we will go back next year to find the rest of it.”

The museum is hoping to transport the skeleton to Switzerland for display in Aathal. Siber, however, is worried that if the whole skeleton is found they won’t have anywhere to put it.

“Our museum is too small right now - it wouldn’t fit,” she said.

Skeletons

The tiny museum displays skeletons from finds all over the world, however, the collection is currently on tour at the Dinosaur Exhibition in Basel’s Natural History Museum.

Siber, who prepares the bones for display at the museum in Aathal, says getting remains ready for transport is always the most challenging task.

“It takes much more time to prepare them and make them ready for transport than to find them and dig them out,” she said.

“We are a private museum and the preparation costs are enormous, so it takes a long time until the bones are ready for display,” she added.

The team also found a five-metre-long skeleton of a stegosaurus in Wyoming, as well as a 25-metre-long skeleton of an apatosaurus.

Both skeletons are in very good condition and are being prepared for the trip to Switzerland. The museum is able bring finds to Switzerland under an agreement with the US authorities.

The team hopes to add the skeleton of a seismosaurus to its collection next year.

swissinfo, Daniela Silberstein in Aathal

Key facts

The seismosaurus was a 30-ton plant-eater which could grow up to 50 metres in length.
It lived during the Jurassic period about 150 million years ago.
The Dinosaur Museum in Aathal is hoping to ship the bone over to Switzerland so it can display it.

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