A fossil, apparently from a Titanosaurus, is located a few centimeters off the side of a cliff, in roadworks in Marilia, within São Paulo. It was identified in the final stage of cutting the material – which took a two-month hiatus until the full extraction of the one-meter leg bone sample, which was completed last week, was completed.
The team’s routine has been completely changed to preserve a treasure buried millions of years ago, found 10 meters below the surface in the copywork SP-333 – Rodovia Dona Leonor Mendes de Barros, on the border between Marília and Julio Mesquita, 400 km from São Paulo.
At the time of identification, as stipulated in the Excavation Monitoring and Monitoring Programme, the engineering and environmental technicians from Entrevias Concessionária de Rodovias, responsible for the work and concession of the road department, selected the immediate suspension of on-site services, in the final phase of the highway duplication schedule.
“We know the importance of this material to history and science. Our teams are trained to monitor and activate technical staff whenever a non-standard material is identified in excavations or excavations. This discovery is cause for celebration for everyone who participated in this project to expand the Marília-Júlio Mesquita connection,” as says Entrevias Director of Engineering, Fábio Milano.
The São Paulo State Transportation Agency (ARTESP), which regulates the state’s granted road network, says it is committed to preserving all historical and artistic materials that can be found on the 11,200 kilometers of highways in São Paulo under the concession.
Thus, it stipulates in each contract that the concessionaire will abide by environmental legislation, preserve artistic and archaeological heritage and obtain all prior licenses, regardless of interference with the surrounding environment.
“This way, during road improvement works, if artifacts are found that are in fact human treasures, we know that the work will be suspended and that the Council for the Defense of Archaeological, Artistic and Tourist Heritage (CONDEPHAAT) – in the case of artifacts – and the National Institute for Historical and Artistic Heritage (Iphan) ) – when artifacts – they will be moved and the results will be disposed of properly,” explained the Superintendent of the Agency’s Environmental Department, Pedro Umberto Romanini.
Paleontologists from A Lasca and the Marília Paleontology Museum took on the challenge of extracting the intact fossil. Started with a hammer and chisel, the meticulous process of removing the rock formation around the part has evolved into a minimal impact drilling tool, to avoid any cracks that could damage the piece.
Wrapped in a solid layer of sandstone – a rock formed from accumulated sand and natural cement, as dense as quartz – the excavation cost professionals nearly two months of work.
The specimen, still in its raw form, will be sent to the Museum of Paleontology in Marilia, where it will be cleaned. In a preliminary analysis, it is believed to be a dinosaur bone bone from the Cretaceous period, known as the late “Dinosaur Age” period, which occurred at least 65 million years ago.
“We think it’s a titanosaur claw. After we save and remove the material from the surrounding environment, we will be better able to study it in detail,” says geologist Nelson Binucci, who carried out the excavations to extract the fossil.
In 2009, in the same area, at km 303, paleontologists found 70% of the skeleton of a titanosaur. The parts consisting of more than 50 pieces can be found at the University of Brasilia (UnB). “Maralia, and other cities in the area, are very rich in this type of fossil, titanosaurs,” completed the curator of the Marilia Museum of Paleontology, paleontologist William Nava. He also reported that the piece arrived on Tuesday (27) to the museum and that shortly after the reopening of the place, which is undergoing renovation, the piece will be displayed to visitors.
Entrevias is implementing an extensive schedule of copying and modernizing the SP-333 motorway, between Borborema and Florínea. The company is heading towards the final stretch of the dualization of 19 km between Marilia and Giulio Mesquita, and another 64 km of highway is being expanded between Marilia, Echapora and Assis. The business is part of the São Paulo State Highway Franchise Program.
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