University of Oregon scientists have found the first confirmed dinosaur bone in Oregon, Fox 12 Oregon reports.
The toe bone belonged to a plant-eating, bipedal dinosaur known as an ornithopod and is estimated to date back 103 million years to a geological period that also gave rise to Tyrannosaurus Rex, the university said.
“This bone was sitting out there with all the rocks. It was pretty surprising,” University of Oregon scientist Greg Retallack told the Eugene Register-Guard. “No excavation was needed. It was just sitting among the ammonites and coil fossils.”
Retallack found it in eastern Oregon near the tiny town of Mitchell.
The university said it is a rare find because the state was underwater for most of the dinosaur age, according to Fox 12.
Retallack said the dinosaur, which was more than 20 feet long and weighed nearly a ton, likely died onshore and washed out to sea.
The discovery was reported last week in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, a peer-review publication, according to reports.