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Short presentation

The Natural History Society (Torres Vedras, Portugal) has in its care one of the largest paleontological collections of vertebrates of the Upper Jurassic of Portugal, resulting from two decades of excavations in the West region, in particular in the Municipality of Torres Vedras.
At a dig site
In 2008, a protocol established between the Municipality of Torres Vedras and the Society of Natural History determined the integration of a private paleontological collection acquired as a private legacy by the Municipality (the José Santos and Luís Francisco collection) in the Society's assets. It allowed the constitution of one of the most outstanding collections of Portuguese fossils, mainly of dinosaurs, including representatives from all major taxonomic groups of these fabulous animals. The collection also includes other somatofossils and icnofossils (eggs, footprints, tracks) of various groups: fish, turtles, crocodiles, flying reptiles (pterosaurs), lepidosauromorphs, as well as marine and non-marine invertebrates from the Portuguese Jurassic. The Paleontology and Paleoecology Laboratory (LPP) is responsible for maintaining and expanding these collections.


Municipality of Torres Vedras, Central Portugal

Equipments, Activities and Capabilities

From the paleontological collection
The Paleontology and Paleoecology Laboratory (LPP) has the appropriate technical and scientific skills for the research and management of paleontological heritage. The LPP develops a productive field activity, having identified a set of new sites containing osteological remains of dinosaurs and other vertebrates and invertebrates.
In recent years LPP have been carrying out the following actions:
- Preparation of the paleontological collection;
- Packaging and preservation of the paleontological collection;
- Inventory and cataloging of specimens;
- Research and publication in international scientific journals;
- Paleontological excavations in the Upper Jurassic of the region, framed by research projects or actions of impact minimization and/or mitigation;
- Technical evaluations of paleontological sites in danger of destruction;
Paleontological excavation
- Inventory and monitoring of paleontological sites;
- Systematic prospecting, with the purpose of discovering new dinosaurs and other fossil vertebrates.
The numerous occurrences of fossils, in particular, dinosaurs, in the Upper Jurassic of the region, compel to a constant update of paleontological data. As a result, the SIGAP Project (Geographic Information System Applied to Paleontology) was created in 2009. Its main objectives are:
- To georeferentiate the numerous sites with fossil vertebrates in order to protect them in land management and planning processes;
- To construct erosive models and human impact evaluations on paleontological sites, resulting in the planning of safeguard, in impact minimization and/or mitigation actions and, if needed, in paleontological excavations of diagnosis or emergency;
- To provide a rich and diversified data source for taphonomic and stratigraphic models of the region.
The research carried out in the laboratory covers the areas of taxonomy, evolutionary history, and paleobiology of vertebrates and invertebrates, with a strategy of establishing international cooperation relations with universities, research centers, and museums.

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