Sito Paleontologico "Villaggio del Pescatore"

WHAT IS THE PALEONTOLOGICAL SITE OF VILLAGGIO DEL PESCATORE?
Villaggio del Pescatore (Fisherman’s village) is one of the most interesting paleontological sites in Italy. It is a fossiliferous landscape where numerous fossil remains have been found, including two large herbivore dinosaurs who lived in this area 70 million years ago, Antonio and Bruno.
WHERE IS IT SITUATED?
The Paleontological Site of the Villaggio del Pescatore is situated in the municipality of Duino-Aurisina in the province of Trieste.
WHEN WAS IT DISCOVERED?
The discovery of the first fossil remains dates back to the late 1980s, and it was made by some paleontology enthusiasts. A series of excavation campaigns began in the early 1990s intending to uncover and study the paleontological discoveries of the site.
WHAT SPECIMEN HAVE BEEN FOUND?
During a geological survey of the area in 1994, a student of Geological Sciences of the University of Trieste, Tiziana Brazzatti, found an outcrop of bones belonging to a dinosaur’s front leg and the rest of the remains were still encased in the rock underneath. This was when the hadrosaur, today commonly known as Antonio, had been found.
While the blocks containing Antonio were being carefully removed, another set of remains had been found; another herbivore dinosaur, named Bruno, was brought to light. Bruno, like Antonio, also is a duck-billed dinosaur and therefore belongs in the hadrosaur’s family.
We are certain, that even today the paleontological site in Villaggio del Pescatore is hiding many other remains, which makes it a site of worldwide scientific interest.
WHY IS THE PALEOTOLOGICAL SITE IN VILLAGGIO DEL PESCATORE IMPORTANT?
This Paleontological Site represents one of the most important paleontological discoveries in Italy of all time; it stands for the only dinosaurs found in a stratigraphic section and the only ones that emerged during a systematic follow-up of scenically conducted excavation campaigns in Italy.
We used to believe, that approximately 80 million years ago, this area was dominated by seas and lagoons, but the discovery of these reptiles in the Northeast of Italy shone a new light on the geological conception of this area; dinosaurs were exclusively terrestrial animals, therefore they needed an immense landscape to live, which means that at the time of the dinosaurs there was also land; the rapid geological changes of the area at the end of Mesozoic era made a reconstruction of the surroundings, which caused the relationship between aquatic and terrestrial environment to change.
Besides Antonio and Bruno, the remains belonging to 10 other hadrosaurs have been found, probably of the same species, a possible leg bone of a carnivorous dinosaur and a wing of a flying reptile. There were also finds of two particular crocodiles, fish, crustaceans and rare plants.
WHO WAS TAKING CARE OF THE EXCAVATIONS?
In agreement with the University of Trieste and the National Museum of Natural history, the Ministry of cultural heritage entrusted the work of extracting the finds to Zoik srl, a Trieste firm that specializes specifically in the recovery of fossils.
Initially, the work was experimental and it marked the international history of paleontological excavations.
In the six months of labor in the field, the slope where the dinosaurs surfaced, has been literally ‘’sliced’’, all thanks to the use of diamond wires and quarry techniques. As the work of the 1998 campaign has ended, the blocks containing the dinosaurs Antonio underwent a chemical preparation process using formic acid. After 3500 hours of laboratory work, one of the most beautiful finds of this type of animal in the world was unearthed; perfectly articulated and virtually complete, Antonio.
With the authorization and supervision of the superintendence for Cultural Heritage of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, excavations at the paleontological site have resumed in the year 2018 and it is then that Antonio’s ‘’brother’’, dinosaur Bruno was found. Bruno is almost one meter longer than Antonio and can, therefore, be considered the largest complete and well-preserved Italian dinosaur.
Bruno’s excavation came to an end in the year 2019; the second Italian dinosaur specimen was assembled and unveiled to the public.
WHERE ARE THE SKELETONS OF ANTONIO AND BRUNO NOW?
To this day, the original skeleton of dinosaur Antonio is kept at the Museum of Natural History in Trieste and is patiently awaiting Bruno’s arrival.
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