Bruno Lebié was digging his garden when he found the bone, which comes from the foot of an ornithopod dinosaur – a two-legged herbivore.
Lebié told the local paper Ouest-France: “The bone could have stayed in there, it really wasn’t bothering me. But I said to myself, ‘could that be a dinosaur bone?’ It’s not really my niche.”
Lebié’s neighbour, who was just the other side of the fence when he found the bone, showed it to an archaeological friend who confirmed it was indeed a rare find.
It wasn’t until the head of the Green Museum in Le Mans, Nicolas Morel, sent a photo to palaeontologist Eric Buffetaut, that the 10cm-long bone was fully identified.
But the bone was an isolated find –the rest of the skeleton is not in Lebié’s garden.
This is one of five other dinosaur bones found in the area in the past 200 years.