Thursday, March 5, 2020

Only Known Dinosaur Fossil Found in Italy as of 1981

This picture is of a very special fossil called Scipionyx samniticus. It was found in the Le Cavere quarry at the edge of the village of Pietraroja, Italy. The theropod dinosaur would have lived in the Early Cretaceous Period (113 million years ago).

It was found by an amateur collector in 1981, by Italian law the find belonged to the state. The specimen was turned over to a museum in 1993. Fossil was on display at The Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano (Milan Natural History Museum), Italy as of August 2019.

UPDATE (December 2021):  In an article just published documents a fossilized herd of 11 Cretaceous aged dinosaurs have been found at Villaggio del Pescatore quarry outside the city of Trieste, Italy. The species has been identified as Tethyshadros insularis. The first dinosaur fossil found there was in 1996 so the fossil documented in this post as being the only one found is not correct. I have changed the wording to reflect this. The article can be found here: or


Chiarenza, A.A., Fabbri, M., Consorti, L. et al. An Italian dinosaur Lagerst├Ątte reveals the tempo and mode of hadrosauriform body size evolution. Sci Rep 11, 23295 (2021).