A man walking his dog finds a nearly intact dinosaur skeleton in France

A man walking his dog in France stumbled upon a prehistoric find: nearly intact dinosaur bones.

Paleontology enthusiast Damien Bocheteau was walking his dog Muffin when he saw bones sticking out of a partially eroded cliff in the city of Montolier in southern France.

Bochetto, a member of the Association of Culture, Archaeology and Paleontology (ACAP), part of France's Crozey Museum, told CBS News that the skeletons were a “rare and exceptional discovery in France and Europe.”

He said that over the past 28 years, researchers have found fossils of dinosaurs and other species in the small village of Crozy in southern France. But its discovery in the nearby town of Montolier led researchers to a new area where the bones were found.

Damien Bochetto, left, and another researcher hold some dinosaur bones that Bochetto found while walking his dog in Montolier, France.

Damian Bochetto


Bochetto and the association, which is made up mostly of volunteers, decided to keep his 2022 discovery a secret for two years to protect the site and “avoid damage while extracting larger pieces,” Bochetto said in an email to CBS News.

Over the course of two years, Bochetto and the researchers conducted several 10-day excavations, during which they found dinosaur skeletons that were almost completely intact, which is rare, he said.

ACAP has been excavating the bones for two years, keeping the find quiet to preserve its integrity.

Damian Bochetto


The most complete sample is A Titanosaur It is about 10 meters long, or about 33 feet. Although this type of herbivore is widely found in Europe, it is rare to find skeletons with almost complete anatomical continuity, Bochetto said.

“This is what makes it an interesting deposit from a scientific point of view,” he said. “From a museological point of view, it will make it possible to present almost complete animals in their anatomical positions to the general public, which is great.”

The bones were transported to a laboratory at the Croze Museum, where they are stored and displayed. “For the museum and the association of which I am a part, these new discoveries are important for science and the future of the museum and collections,” he said. “It will enable us to contribute to the expansion of the museum.”

It took several 10-day excavations to discover the dinosaur skeletons. The most complete specimen is the titanosaur, which was about 10 meters long.

Damian Bochetto


ACAP is made up of volunteers who specialize in excavations and scientific research, according to its website. They work closely with paleontologists, the French National Center for Scientific Research and local universities.

More than 25 species of dinosaurs have been found in the area by other scientists and ACAP volunteers, and more species are still being studied, according to the museum. Some of the findings are about 70 million years old and were found along the river, where the current carried the bones.

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