New Species of Plant-Consuming Dinosaur Found in Australia

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Paleontologists in Australia have discovered fossil fragments from a brand new genus and species of ornithopod dinosaur that walked the Earth through the Early Cretaceous epoch.

Galleonosaurus dorisae. Image credit: James Kuether.

Galleonosaurus dorisae. Picture credit score: James Kuether.

The brand new dinosaur belongs to Ornithopoda (ornithopods), a significant group of herbivorous bird-hipped dinosaurs.

Dubbed Galleonosaurus dorisae, it inhabited the rift between Australia and Antarctica roughly 125 million years in the past (Cretaceous interval).

5 fossilized higher jaws of the traditional beast have been discovered on the Flat Rocks locality of the Wonthaggi Formation in a area of Gippsland, Victoria, Australia.

Galleonosaurus is the fifth small ornithopod genus named from Victoria,” mentioned Dr. Matthew Herne, a postdoctoral researcher on the College of New England.

“The invention confirms that on a world scale, the range of those small-bodied dinosaurs had been unusually excessive within the historic rift valley that after prolonged between the spreading continents of Australia and Antarctica.”

“Small ornithopods seem to have thrived on the huge forested floodplain inside the historic rift valley.”

Specimens of Galleonosaurus dorisae from the Flat Rocks Sandstone in the upper Barremian, Wonthaggi Formation, Gippsland Basin, southeastern Australia. Scale bars - 10 mm (1-6); 1 mm (7). Image credit: Herne et al, doi: 10.1017/jpa.2018.95.

Specimens of Galleonosaurus dorisae from the Flat Rocks Sandstone within the higher Barremian, Wonthaggi Formation, Gippsland Basin, southeastern Australia. Scale bars – 10 mm (1-6); 1 mm (7). Picture credit score: Herne et al, doi: 10.1017/jpa.2018.95.

Galleonosaurus dorisae is a detailed relative of Diluvicursor pickeringi, one other small ornithopod named by Dr. Herne and co-authors in 2018, from excavations alongside the Otway coast to the west of the Gippsland area.

“Apparently, the jaws of the brand new species and the partial skeleton of Diluvicursor pickeringi have been equally buried in volcanic sediments on the ground of deep highly effective rivers,” Dr. Herne mentioned.

“Nevertheless, Galleonosaurus dorisae is about 12 million years older than Diluvicursor pickeringi, displaying that the evolutionary historical past of dinosaurs within the Australian-Antarctic rift had been prolonged.”

Previous to discovery of Galleonosaurus dorisae, the one different ornithopod identified from the Gippsland area was Qantassaurus intrepidus, named in 1999.

“Nevertheless, Qantassaurus intrepidus had a shorter extra strong snout than that of Galleonosaurus dorisae,” Dr. Herne mentioned.

“We take into account that these two, similarly-sized dinosaurs consumed totally different plant sorts, which might have allowed them to coexist.”

The researchers additionally discovered that the ornithopods from Victoria are carefully associated to these from Patagonia in Argentina.

“We’re steadily constructing an image of terrestrial dinosaur interchange between the shifting Gondwanan continents of Australia, South America and Antarctica through the Cretaceous interval,” Dr. Herne famous.

The examine was revealed within the Journal of Paleontology.

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Matthew C. Herne et al. New small-bodied ornithopods (Dinosauria, Neornithischia) from the Early Cretaceous Wonthaggi Formation (Strzelecki Group) of the Australian-Antarctic rift system, with revision of Qantassaurus intrepidus Wealthy and Vickers-Wealthy, 1999. Journal of Paleontology, revealed on-line March 11, 2019; doi: 10.1017/jpa.2018.95

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