Vlad Konstantinov and Scott Hocknell / Eromanga Museum of Natural History
Researchers in Australia have confirmed the discovery of the largest Australian dinosaur species ever discovered.
Australotic correspondence was about 80-100 feet long and 16-21 feet high at his thigh. It weighed somewhere between 25 and 81 tons. For comparison T-Rex it was about 40 feet long and 12 feet high.
Paleontologists involved in the discovery say it is among the 15 largest dinosaurs ever discovered in the world and ranks similar in size to the giants found in South America.
The first of the creature’s fossilized bones were excavated in 2006 and 2007, but only now, after years of analysis, have paleontologists from the Queensland Museum and the Eromanga Museum of Natural History been able to confirm that the bones are from the largest dinosaur. in Australia.
The findings were published in the peer-reviewed PeerJ magazine on Monday. Scott Hocknall, a paleontologist at the Queensland Museum, is one of the authors.
Eromanga Museum of Natural History
“It took so long because it’s such a painstaking job. “You have to take the bones out of the ground, prepare the fossils, and then study them and compare them to all the other dinosaur species in the world,” Hocknell told ABC News.
“In Australia, it’s certainly the largest animal to ever walk in the wilderness,” he said. “It’s huge, it’s a fantastic beast. Imagine something the size of a basketball court walking on land.”
“I think it’s a great, great discovery,” said Diego Paul, head of paleontology at the Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio in Argentina, who made similar findings but did not participate in the Australian discovery.
Gary Kranic / Queensland Museum
It is located near the town of Eromanga in southwestern Queensland in the province of Australia. Researchers call it Cooper after the area near where it was found, Cooper Creek.
Australotitan lived 92 to 96 million years ago in southwestern Queensland, which at the time was still connected to Antarctica, Hoknull and the Queensland Museum, writes senior researcher Rochelle Lawrence.
It is part of a number of dinosaurs called titanosaurs that have been found on most continents.
But Paul told NPR that so far all “super-large” titanosaurs have been found in the Patagonian region of South America. “It’s super interesting because it’s the first confirmation that super-large titanosaurs have inhabited Australia,” he said.
Paul says these large dinosaurs probably lived in “vast expanses” of connected land, including present-day South America, Antarctica, and Australia.
“It also means that if we go to Antarctica and dig into the right rocks … we’ll probably find supergiant titanosaurs that lived in Antarctica. So I found this super exciting.”
Vlad Konstantinov / Eromanga Museum of Natural History
Australotic correspondence is a new species of this type of dinosaur called sauropods, which had long necks and tails, four legs and ate plants. The researchers say the new species is closely linked to three other sauropods found in Australia that date to the same time period.
“It simply came to our notice then Australotitan was the largest in the family, followed by Wintonotitan with large thighs and long legs, while the two smaller sauropods, Diamond dinosaur and Savannah they were shorter and stricter, “Hoknull said in a statement.
As part of their research, the Australian team uses new 3D scanning technology to scan bones from Australotitan and compare them with those of similar species. Both Australian and Argentine researchers agree that the new technology has opened the door to information exchange. Previously, paleontologists may have had to fly around the world to examine fossils in person. Paul says the ultra-high resolution that exists now is “like having the real bone in your computer.”
The Eromanga Museum of Natural History says its team has found other dinosaur bones in the area, including recently discovered ones, that need to be studied to determine if they belong to a new species.
“Discoveries like this are just the tip of the iceberg,” Hoknull said in a statement. “Our ultimate goal is to find the evidence that tells the changing history of Queensland, in the process of being created hundreds of millions of years ago.”