A new large Australian sauropod — a large, long neck and tailed herbivorous dinosaur — has been identified along with the first fossilised dinosaur head bones ever found in Australia.
The new dinosaur, found at the Winton Formation on Maiawali and Karuwali Country in central western Queensland is named Savannasaurus elliottorum after the Elliott family, who first found a dinosaur fossil in a pile of bones while out mustering sheep on their property.
The new species slots into a dinosaur group called titanosaurs, and researchers say it could help shed light on how these big dinos traveled to Australia.
Stephen Poropat, who lead the research, also uncovered head bones from another sauropod species Diamantinasaurus matildae. Poropat and his team suggest that the sauropods might have originated in South America between 120 and 110 million years ago, and crossed over Antarctica to Australia during a period of warming 105 million years ago that removed the barrier between the continents.
My life-long dream of naming a new dinosaur—an Australian one no less—was realised today: Savannasaurus elliottorum! https://t.co/QWiwfNHlDt
— Stephen Poropat (@StephenPoropat) October 20, 2016