Scientists discover the largest new dinosaur species
Scientists in Australia have discovered the largest new dinosaur species. The new dinosaur species was discovered in 2007 has been classified as the largest ever found on the continent.
The dinosaur species known as Australotitan cooperensis or “the southern titan”, is among the 15 largest dinosaurs globally.
The species skeleton was discovered on a farm in southwest Queensland.
Paleontologists had worked over the past decade to identify the dinosaur to distinguish it from other known species by comparing scans of its bones to those of other sauropods.
Sauropods were plant-eating dinosaurs known for their size. They had small heads, very long necks, long tails, and thick, pillar-like legs.
These dinosaurs roamed the continent during the Cretaceous Period, about 92-96 million years ago.
Specialists say the new dinosaur species was up to 6.5m (21ft) tall and 30m long, or as long as a basketball court.
A team of experts had nicknamed the dinosaur Cooper while working on it. The identification process took a long time due to the remote location of the bones and their size and delicate condition.
But researchers from the Queensland Museum and the Eromanga Natural History Museum said many of the remains were found intact.
They said the Australotitan was closely related to the other three sauropod species – the Wintonotitan, Diamantinasaurus, and Savannasaurus.
“It looks like Australia’s largest dinosaurs were all part of one big happy family,” Dr. Scott Hocknull, one of the lead researchers said. The bones were first found in 2007 on a family farm near Eromanga, which was owned by two of the dinosaur researchers, Robyn and Stuart Mackenzie.
“It’s amazing to think from the first bones discovered by our son, the first digs with the Queensland Museum, through to the development of a not-for-profit museum that runs annual dinosaur digs, all have helped us to get to this point, it’s a real privilege,” Stuart Mackenzie said.
The Queensland state government welcomed the news, calling it a boon for local dinosaur discovery.
“Australia is one of the last frontiers for dinosaur discovery and Queensland is quickly cementing itself as the palaeo-capital of the nation – there is still plenty more to discover,” said Dr. Jim Thompson, chief executive of the Queensland Museum Network.