The Italian Almanac


Italian News - October 30

An exhibition featuring the recently discovered fossil hatchlings of one of history's largest dinosaurs was a star attraction as the Genoa Science Festival kicked off. The groundbreaking palaeontology show was the public's first chance to see the Titanosaurus bones, which were found by an Italian team in Argentina earlier this year.

Until then science's knowledge of the Titanosaurus - one of the largest animals ever to walk the Earth - was based on incomplete fossils found in India and Europe. Thanks to the find, palaeontologists have been able to compare many of their past suppositions about the dinosaur with tiny, but fully formed, skeletons.

Titanosaurus, a herbivore whose name means giant lizard, lived during the late Cretaceous period (83-65 million years ago), near the end of the age of the dinosaurs. It had a long neck, small head and long tail, separated by a heavyweight body with bony armour on the back. When fully grown, it was up to 12 metres long and probably weighed 14,000 kg.

The exhibition at Genoa's Loggia dei Mercanti in Piazza Banchi also includes several other dinosaur skeletons. Visitors can find out how palaeontologists go about their work too and even take part in mini excavations. The dinosaur exhibit was one of the events unveiled on the opening day of Genoa's Science Festival, which is billed as one of "Italy's most important cultural events." The festival, which runs until November 8, has a programme of 250 conferences, debates, exhibitions, lectures and meetings - many with guests of honour from international science's A list.