The Paimogo Dinosaur Egg Clutch Revisited: Using One of Portugal’s Most Notable Fossils to Exhibit the Scientific Method

Alexandra E. Fernandes, Octávio Mateus, Blanca Bauluz, Rute Coimbra, Lope Ezquerro, Carmen Núñez-Lahuerta, Calin Suteu, Miguel Moreno-Azanza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Found in the Upper Jurassic outcrops of Lourinhã, Portugal, and first published in 1997, the Paimogo dinosaur egg clutch is one of Portugal’s most remarkable fossils, with over one hundred eggs preserved in association with embryonic bones, of the allosauroid theropod Lourinhanosaurus. However, many questions about it have remained unanswered, even until the present day. After its discovery, this extraordinary fossil became the keystone of a small local museum, greatly kick-starting regional tourism, while also holding the fossils in trust for future generations to study. More than 20 years later, continually sustained paleontological interest from the public has even given rise to both a highly successful dinosaur theme park in the region and an aspiring UNESCO Geopark. Recently, a multidisciplinary team of preparators, paleontologists, sedimentologists, mineralogists, and geochemists revisited an unopened jacket from the original excavation using an array of techniques to address various questions. Studies are ongoing, but the corpus of information obtained and the methodologies utilized to gather data have offered an opportunity to design an exhibit around the history of the Paimogo clutch, highlighting the scientific methods involved, and asserting the importance of preserving geological heritage for the future, when new tools will doubtlessly become available to provide yet another new look at old fossils. Here, we describe our analytical procedures and present an innovative exhibit designed to introduce to the public the latest advances on the research behind an iconic piece of Portuguese geoheritage, increasing its value both as a research item and as an educational resource.

Original languageEnglish
Article number66
JournalGeoheritage
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Aspiring Geoparque Oeste
  • Embryos
  • Jurassic
  • Paleontological heritage
  • Science dissemination

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