They, a new dinosaur from Australia has been welcomed. Our study, published in the journal PeerJ documents Australotic correspondence “Australia’s largest dinosaur species ever discovered, and the largest land-dwelling species to walk in the wilderness.”
Australotitan, or “southern titan”, was a massive long-throated tyrannosaurian sauropod, believed to have reached 25-30 meters in length and 5-6 meters in height. It weighed the equivalent of 1,400 red kangaroos.
He lived in southwestern Queensland between 92-96 million years ago, when Australia was annexed by Antarctica and the last remnants of the once great inland sea disappeared.
The discovery of Australotitan is a major new addition to Oz̵
Finding dinosaurs in Australia has been identified as an extremely difficult task.
In Queensland, dinosaur sites are impersonal plains. Compare this to many sites abroad where mountain ranges, deep canyons or open areas of heavily eroded terrain can help uncover ancient layers of preserved petrified bones.
Today the area where Australotitan he lived in oil, gas and a pasture country. Our study represents the first major step in documenting dinosaurs from this fossil field.
The first bones of Australotitan were excavated in 2006 and 2007 by the Queensland Museum and paleontologists and volunteers from the Eromanga Museum of Natural History. We got the nickname this individual “Cooper” after the nearby freshwater lifebelt, Cooper Creek.
After the excavations, we undertook the long and thorough removal of the rock that buried Cooper’s bones. This was necessary for our proper identification and comparison of each bone.
We had to compare Cooper’s bones with all the other species of sauropod dinosaurs known from both Australia and overseas to confirm our suspicions of a new species.
But traveling from collection to collection in different museums to compare hundreds of pounds of fragile dinosaur bones was simply not possible. So instead, we used 3D digital scanning technology, which allowed us to actually carry thousands of pounds of dinosaur bones in a seven-pound laptop.
This type of research project has created a new opportunity for museums and researchers to share their amazing collections worldwide, with researchers and the public.
And thanks to two decades of efforts by paleontologists, civilian scientists, non-profit regional museums and local landowners, there has recently been a boom in Australian dinosaur discoveries.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, we also found four sauropod dinosaurs that lived in Australia between 96-92 million years ago (including Australotitan) were more closely related to each other than to other dinosaurs found elsewhere.
However, we could not categorically place any of these four related species together in the same place at the same time. This means that they could evolve over time to occupy many different habitats. They may even have met before.
Australian species share links with titanosaurs from South America and Asia, suggesting that they dispersed from South America (via Antarctica) during global warming.
Or they may have jumped over islands through ancient island archipelagos that would eventually make up today’s terrain in Southeast Asia and the Philippines.
Digital imaging of giant sauropod bones and fossils in 3D has led to some remarkable discoveries. Several of Cooper’s bones have been found crushed in the footsteps of other sauropod dinosaurs.
Moreover, during Cooper’s excavations we found another smaller skeleton of a sauropod – probably a smaller one. Australotitan“Crowded in rock almost 100 meters long.” We interpreted this as a trampled area: an area of mud compressed underfoot by massive sauropods as they moved along a path or at the edge of a water hole.
Similar trampling characteristics can be seen today around Australian bilabons or water holes in Africa, where the largest edible plants, such as elephants and hippos, trample mud in a hard layer.
In the case of the hippopotamus, they cut channels through the mud to move between the precious water and food sources. Life in Australia during the Cretaceous period can be represented in a similar way, with the exception of oversize.
In the present, there, in the Australian dinosaur state, you can find yourself in a barren plain, imagining what other secrets this world will reveal to long-lost giants.
Scott Hocknall is a senior curator of geosciences at the Queensland Museum and an honorary research associate at the University of Melbourne; and Rochelle Lawrence is a senior fellow at the Queensland Museum