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Dino Find

BIG DISCOVERY An excavator inspects a bone that was discovered at a site in southwestern France. It likely belonged to a dinosaur known as a sauropod. GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images

A team of paleontologists in France announced last week that they had uncovered the bone of one of the largest dinosaurs that ever lived. It is likely the thighbone, or femur, of a sauropod. Sauropods were plant-eating dinosaurs with long necks and tails. They lived during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

The bone is 6 1/2 feet long and it weighs 1,102 pounds. That makes it taller than the average human and heavier than the average horse.

Excavators unearthed the bone at a site in Angeac-Charente. That’s in southwestern France. The bone was covered in a thick layer of clay. Experts say the bone is 140 million years old.

The bone was well-preserved. “We can see the insertions of muscles and tendons, and scars,” Ronan Allain told Reuters. Allain is a paleontologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris. “This is rare for big pieces, which tend to collapse in on themselves and fragment.”

Many fossils have been discovered at the Angeac-Charente site, but this is the largest bone uncovered there so far. Experts and museum curators are especially excited about the dinosaur discovery.

"This femur is huge! And in an exceptional state of conservation,” Jean-François Tournepiche told Le Parisien. Tournepiche is a curator at the Museums of Angoulême in Angoulême, France. “It's very moving,” he adds.