WHO IS ANTONIO?
Antonio is a duck-billed dinosaur (hadrosaur).
Scientific name: Tethyshadros insularis.
WHY IS HE CALLED ANTONIO?
At the time of the excavation, there were two experts who worked on the Paleontological site; professor Antonio Brambati, director of the Faculty of Geology of Trieste and dr. Antonio Klingendrath, technical director. Naturally, their name was instantly associated with the excavation and the idea of naming the dinosaur that was being mined after them as a way to pay them respect, was approved by everyone.
HOW LARGE IS HE?
Antonio is 4 meters long and about 130 cm high.
HOW OLD IS HE?
Geologically speaking, he is over 70 million years old. As a specimen, he is certainly an adult, but, at least for now, we cannot be more specific about his actual "age".
HOW MUCH DOES HE WEIGH?
Approximately 400 kg.
WHERE WAS HE FOUND?
Antonio was found in the largest Italian paleontological site; in the Villaggio del Pescatore (the Fisherman's Village), a province of Trieste.
WHAT KIND OF ENVIRONMENT DID HE LIVE IN?
The latest information that the dinosaurs of Villaggio del Pescatore have provided, leads to believe that the coastal transition zone between fresh and salt water had geological structures similar to the "blue holes" (the famous Yucatan cenotes). Structures like these usually form in limestone environments, therefore we can imagine vast areas of emerged lands that connected with the warm, shallow sea and coastal karst lakes; this is the type of environment the dinosaurs probably once roamed.
IN WHAT CLIMATE DID HE LIVE?
Back then, the climate was tropical or sub-tropical, much warmer than it is currently.
WHAT DID HE EAT?
He was an herbivorous dinosaur, which means he ate vegetables that he tore with his robust beak and shredded with the well-developed chain of teeth. He, however, did not eat "grass" because the grass as we know it today was not there at the time.
WHEN WAS HE FOUND?
The discovery of the first fossil remains inside the paleontological site at the Villaggio del Pescatore dates back to the late 1980s and was made by some paleontology enthusiasts.
At first, these findings were not recognized as dinosaurs’, but they did start a series of excavation campaigns in the early 1990s. During this time a complete pair of articulated legs were discovered and in the year 1994, professor Eric Buffettaut of the CNRS in Paris identified them specifically as dinosaur bones of the hadrosaur family. In the same year, another outcrop of bones belonging to a dinosaur front leg was found right on the surface during a geological survey of the area by a student of Geological Sciences of the University of Trieste. Unlike with the first find, this time the rest of the skeleton was neatly encased in the rocky structure; that was the time the hadrosaur, now commonly known by the name of Antonio, was identified.
IS THE SKELETON WHOLE?
Apart from a few parts, which are naturally missing due to the surface erosion of the reservoir, the dinosaur is 90% complete.
IS THE SKULL COMPLETE?
Antonio's skull is 90% complete.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO PREPARE IT?
Antonio's extraction needed countless hours to be properly executed. The excavation on the field took place between 1996 and 2000, where it was necessary to remove about 430 cubic meters of rock just to get to the blocks containing the skeleton. Total hours put into this specimen have been estimated at 3,710; including excavation, handling and preparation in the laboratory.
HOW WAS IT PREPARED?
The preparation was accomplished with the use of formic acid diluted to 5%. Through specifically made equipment, the water and acid solution hit the limestone matrix leaving the bone part intact. After each step, the process was stopped to impregnate the emerged bone with substances that stabilized it and allowed the extraction of the complete skeleton in basically perfect condition.
HAS ANTONIO PROVIDED NEW DATA FOR SCIENCE?
WHO PREPARED ANTONIO'S SKELETON?
Antonio was prepared by the company Stoneage of Trieste which was overlooking all the steps of Antonio's extraction and processing. Under the directives of the superintendence for Archaeological Heritage and Landscape of Friuli Venezia Giulia, it was possible to complete the work in the year 2000.
WHO DOES ANTONIO BELONG TO?
From 1939, all the fossils are owned by the Italian State and are under the protection of the local superintendence.
WHERE IS THE ORIGINAL ANTONIO SKELETON?
Antonio's original skeleton is exhibited at the Museum of Natural History in a room that was set up especially for him.
Technical director: Dr. Flavio Bacchia
Paleontological restoration: Tullio Perentin, Paolo Cinquemani, Giorgio Noliani
Editing: Roberto Cherin
ANTONIO’s SCIENTIFIC DATA:
SPECIES: Thethysadros insularis
REGION: Friuli Venezia Giulia
MUNICIPALITY: Duino Aurisina
LOCATION: Villaggio del Pescatore