The enormous thigh bone of a plant-eating dinosaur from the Jurassic period has been dug up in the south of France.
Palaeontologists at the excavation site in Angeac-Charente have spared no expense in their pursuit of such fossils over the years, and have made more than 7,500 discoveries from 40 different species since 2010.
Their latest find measures two-metres (6ft5) long and is believed to have belonged to a sauropod – a herbivorous dinosaur with long necks and tails, which were widespread during the late Jurassic era some 140 million years ago.
Ronan Allain, a palaeontologist at the National History Museum of Paris, said he was stunned that life had found a way to preserve the bone for such a long time.
He added: “This is a major discovery – I was especially amazed by the state of preservation of that femur. These are animals that probably weighed to 40 to 50 tonnes.”
The Angeac-Charente site, located near the southwestern city of Cognac, has become a major tourist attraction in recent years because of how many dinosaur fossils have been found there.
It is the biggest excavation site of its kind in Europe and offers tours every July, hosted by a team of around 50 students and researchers who talk guests through how fossils are excavated, cleaned and preserved.