How a Dinosaur Got Inside a Church

An Italian paleontologist has discovered a fossilized dinosaur skull inside a small town cathedral. Yes, an actual dinosaur skull! In a church! How did it get there? Did Jesus kill it?!

There's a dinosaur in this church—and no, I'm not talking about antiquated attitudes toward sex. [Wait for laughter.] According to Discovery News, Dr. Andrea Tintori spotted the fossil embedded in the marble of the duomo in Vigevano, a town outside of Milan:

"The rock contains what appears to be a horizontal section of a dinosaur's skull. The image looks like a CT scan, and clearly shows the cranium, the nasal cavities, and numerous teeth," Andrea Tintori, the University of Milan paleontologist who spotted the fossil near the altar, told Discovery News.

Another bit of the skull was found in a nearby slab. He doesn't know what kind of dinosaur it is, but says he'll figure it out by making a three-dimensional reconstruction.

As for how it got there? The marble—Broccatello—used in the Cathedral of St. Ambrose is from Mount San Giorgio in Switzerland, a place well-known for its abundance of fossils. Tintori says this rock dates "geologically to the Lower Jurassic, about 190 million years ago."

Here are full-sized photos of the church and the fossil:

How a Dinosaur Got Inside a Church

How a Dinosaur Got Inside a Church

[Repubblica; Discovery]