Australian Palaeontologist announces Discovery of New Dinosaur in Queensland

Australia is beginning to rival China when it comes to announcing the discovery of new types of dinosaur.  Hot on the heels of last month’s announcement of the discovery of two new Titanosaurs and a new Theropod (meat-eater), the Australian press is carrying reports of another exciting dinosaur discovery from down under.

An expedition has uncovered the fossilised remains of a large Sauropod at a site to the west of Eromanga, in southwest Queensland.  This area of Queensland is proving to be a real hot spot for mid Cretaceous dinosaur remains and this new find is one of a number of dinosaur discoveries made recently in the area.

To read the article about three new types of dinosaur discovered at Winton: A Trio of newly Discovered Australian Dinosaurs

The fossils are believed to represent a new genus of Titanosaur, a long-necked dinosaur that may have had dermal armour.  Preliminary examination dates the fossils to around 97 million years ago (Albian/Cenomanian faunal stages).  During this time, (mid Cretaceous), the area was covered by a shallow inland sea.  The sea is named after the nearby town of Eromanga, ironic as one of modern day Eromanga’s claims to fame is that it is the town in Australia furthest away from the sea.

Although, not the largest specimen of an Australian Titanosaur known to date, the Queensland Museum palaeontologists who studied the fossils are confident that this dinosaur is going to turn out to be one of the most complete sets of fossil bones discovered in the area to date.  Like many other palaeontologists, the dinosaur has been given a nick-name whilst the scientists and volunteers work at the dig site.  This dinosaur has been named “Zac”.

It will be sometime before “Zac” is formerly named and described, there is a lot of work to do on the delicate fossils in the meantime, however, the Queensland Museum team are confident that this particular dinosaur will turn out to be one of the most important dinosaur discoveries made in Australia.

Queensland Museum palaeontologist, Scott Hocknull, stated:

“The discoveries made this year confirm the south-west Queensland site is likely to be of great significance – not only for Australia – but for a wider scientific understanding of the age of dinosaurs”.

Other dinosaurs from this region include the primitive mid Jurassic Sauropod Rhoetosaurus , a member of the Cetiosauridae perhaps?  This dinosaur has been dated to around 175 million years ago.

A Scale Drawing of the Australian Sauropod (Cetiosauridae?) Rhoetosaurus

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view a model of Rhoetosaurus: Dinosaur Toys for Boys and Girls – Dinosaur Models

Scientists are confident that more prehistoric animal remains will be found in the area, providing a detailed insight into life down under during the mid Cretaceous.

It seems that Australia is putting itself firmly on the map when it comes to finding dinosaurs.  Now, if only they could put together a decent cricket team..

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