Lourinhã is located in one of the wealthiest fossil regions of the Upper Jurassic of Portugal, and is in the top of the 20 richest regions in the world for 150 million years fossils. In the end of Jurassic, Lourinhã was in the midst of a huge valley where it would flow an estuarine network with watercourses that support all animal life, including the imposing dinosaurs and the first small mammals. All this river delta that fed this life, also preserved it in exceptional fossilizations processes.
These layers are the ones today shows at Lourinhã surface, especially in its cliffs by the sea, revealing life stories and an amazing geology.
Lourinhã is one of the dinosaur fossil richest regions in Europe. Were found more than a dozen unique species in the world in this city by the sea. The cliffs preserve hundreds of fossils from Upper Jurassic, with 150 million years, that are now displayed in the Dino Parque.
Some of the species found in Lourinhã are represented in the models of the park as the Lourinhasaurus alenquerensis, Lourinhanosaurus antunesi, Torvosaurus gurneyi, Allosaurus europaeus and Ceratosaurus.
It was at 1993 on the beach of Paimogo that was discovered a nest with more than 100 eggs of Lourinhanosaurus, still with its embryos: From this year the Lourinhã became to known as the Capital of the Dinosaurs.
The fossils of Lourinhã are much more than just bones, they are evidence of a long-lost life but wich on we are able to find traces in other animals that have evolved.Fossils are not limited to bones, Lourinhã is also rich in trace fossils - remnants of animal activities. The region is also known as giant footprints, footprints with skin, pterosaurs trails, stomach stones – the gastroliths, discovered in herbivores and carnivores – and the most famous fossils of the Lourinhã: the eggs with embryo bones intact!
Eggs, Nests and Shells
The eggs, being one of the most fragile structures produced by an animal, are of the most difficult vestiges to preserve and the rarest fossil found. Precisely, it is in Lourinhã we found not one, but several places of posture of these magnificent animals that were the dinosaurs.In 1993 it was found what would be one of the largest dinosaur nests in the Jurassic and, above all, which contained some of the oldest embryo bones in the world! Was Lourinhanosaurus eggs and it's precisely part of this nest we can see in the exhibition. Twenty years later, in 2013, other eggs are discovered with embryos, this time from Torvosaurus gurneyi, the largest terrestrial predator in the Jurassic! These eggs and their story are prepared to be discovered in the Dino Parque exhibition.
In the exhibition in the museum space of Dino Parque are the most recent discoveries made in Lourinhã in recent decades, including most of the new species described for Portugal in this century. The exhibition has the scientific supervision of the Museum of Lourinhã, owner of one of the richest paleontological heritage in Portugal.
The exhibition tries to answer two questions: "Why these fossils are found in the Lourinhã?" and "What do these fossils have of special about?". Through the various ecosystems that existed in the Upper Jurassic, 150 million years ago, we took the visitor to discover the world's importance of these fossils.