On Monday, scientists announced that they had identified a new species of dinosaur, the largest ever discovered in Australia.
The giant sauropod is officially named Australotitan Cooperensis, or “southern titan” by researchers in Eromanga, Queensland, according to a study published in the journal PeerJ. The second part of its name, Cooperensis, refers to the nearby Cooper Creek in western Queensland, where the fossils were discovered in 2007.
Experts say the dinosaur weighed about 70 tons, was 21 feet high and was extended to about the length of a basketball court.
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“The exciting thing for us is that we can put our first hat in the ring for the biggest dinosaurs in the world. It̵
The titanosaur – like the brachiosaurus – was part of a group called sauropods, which were dinosaurs that ate plants known for their size. They are believed to have lived more than 90 million years ago, during the Cretaceous.
Over the past decade, paleontologists have worked to identify dinosaurs – comparing bone scans with those of existing species.
“To make sure Australotitan was a different species, we had to compare its bones with the bones of other Queensland and global species. It was a very long and painstaking task,” Hocknull said.
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The study found that Australotitan is closely related to three other species of Australian sauropods – Wintonotitan, Diamantinasaurus and Savannasaurus.
“We compared the three species found in the north, near Winton, with our new giant Eromanga, and it seems that all the largest dinosaurs in Australia were part of one big happy family,” Hawknell added.
The dinosaur bones were first discovered in 2007 on a family farm near Eromanga, Queensland.
Hocknell said discoveries like this were “just the tip of the iceberg.”
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“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. A great history that all scientists, museums and tourists can lag behind,” he added.