A fossil, apparently from a Titanosaurus, was found a few centimeters off the side of a cliff, in roadworks in Marília, within São Paulo. It was identified in the final stage of cutting the material, which took a two-month gap to complete removal of the one-meter-long shin bone specimen, which was completed last week.
The team’s entire routine has been altered to preserve a treasure buried millions of years ago, found 10 meters below the surface in the SP-333 version – 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 engineers and environmental technicians of the Entrevias Concessionária de Rodovias, responsible for the work and concession of the Highway Department, selected the immediate suspension of on-site services, in the final stage of the road duplication schedule.
We know the importance of this material for history and science. Our teams are trained to monitor and activate technical personnel whenever non-standard materials are identified in excavations or excavations. This discovery is cause for celebration for all involved in this project to extend the connection of Marilia Giulio Mesquita”, says Fabio Milano, Engineering Director at Entrevias.
The São Paulo State Transportation Agency (ARTESP), which regulates the state-granted road network, says it is committed to preserving all historical and artistic materials that can be found on the 11,200 kilometers of roads in São Paulo under the concession.
Thus, it is stipulated in each contract that the concessionaire will comply with environmental legislation, preserve artistic and archaeological heritage and obtain all prior licenses, regardless of interference with the surrounding environment.
“In this way, during road improvement works, if pieces are found that actually represent treasures of humanity, we know that the work will be suspended and that the Council for the Defense of the Archaeological, Artistic and Tourist Heritage (CONDEPHAAT) – in the Director of the Temporary Environment Administration, Pedro Umberto Romanini, explained that The status of the artifacts – and the National Institute for Historical and Artistic Heritage (Iphan) – will be transferred when they are artifacts – and the results will be properly disposed of.
Paleontologists from A Lasca and the Marília Paleontological Museum have taken on the challenge of extracting healthy fossils. Started with a hammer and chisel, the meticulous process of removing the rock formation around the part has turned it into a low impact drilling tool to avoid cracks that can damage the part.
Wrapped in a hard layer of sandstone, a rock consisting of accumulated sand and natural cement, as dense as quartz, the excavation cost specialists nearly two months of work.
The specimen, still in its raw form, will be sent to the Marilia Museum of Paleontology, where it will be cleaned. In preliminary analysis, it is believed to be a dinosaur bone from the Cretaceous period, known as the late period of the “Dinosaur Age”, which occurred at least 65 million years ago.
“We think it’s a titanosaur’s claw. After we save and remove the material from the surrounding environment, we’ll be in a better position 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. Pieces 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, the titanosaur,” completed the Marilia Museum of Paleontology’s curator, paleontologist William Nava. He also reported that the piece arrived at the museum on Tuesday (27) and that shortly after the reopening of the place which is undergoing a renovation, the piece will be displayed to visitors.
Entrevias is implementing an extensive copying and updating schedule for the SP-333 motorway, between Borborema and Florínea. The company is advancing towards the final section of the 19-kilometer duplication between Marilia and Giulio Mesquita, and another 64 km of the motorway is being extended between Marilia, Ikapura and Assis. The business is part of the São Paulo State Highway Franchise Program.