Italy TravelTito The Dinosaur at Milan’s Natural History Museum

Tito The Dinosaur at Milan’s Natural History Museum
Published on Monday, May 9, 2016 by

tito-dinosaurThis month at Milan’s Natural History Museum, a new exhibit may herald “a new species:” the skeletal remains of a Titanosaurus dinosaur that was unearthed in the Prenestine Hills near Rome is now on display.

This Titanosaurus would have been a long-necked herbivore, about 19 feet long and weighing nearly 1,200 pounds. These measurements are slightly smaller than a typical Titanosaurus (members of the Sauropod genus), but that might be because it was not completely mature at time of death.

The paleontologists and curators have nicknamed this dinosaur “Tito,” and say that they are able to determine from one vertebra and two pelvic fragments that the animal would have been “unique;” the vertebra was indicative of the Titanosaur’s arching neck. “We might even be faced with a new species,” said Cristiano Dal Sasso, a paleontologist who discovered Italy’s first dinosaur, Ciro, in 1998. Dal Sasso and colleagues believe Tito’s kin would have left Africa for Italy 112 million years ago.

Based on the bones, Mauro Scaggiante of the Geo-Model company created a life-size model of Tito for people to view and consider what an Italy populated by dinosaurs might have looked and felt like. The Corriere della Sera noted that Tito’s discovery brings the number of dinosaur remains found in Italy to five, and that the find proves that “areas of land above sea level must have been much more extensive” than experts previously knew.

“The Apennine platform on which Tito and Ciro lived 112 million years ago must have covered an area at least as large as modern-day Sardinia, which in certain periods may have been connected to other platforms as far afield as Eurasia to the north and Africa to the south,” reported Paola d’Amico for the newspaper. While no one can predict if or when someone will unearth future dinosaur remains in Italy, each new discovery benefits other fields, and other fields help each discovery’s importance, too.

Milan Natural History Museum
Corso Venezia 55
(39) 02 8846 3337
Tuesday through Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (closed Mondays, Jan. 1, May 1, Christmas Day)
Price: 5€ general admission; free on Friday afternoons


By Kathy McCabe

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