Scientists have confirmed the discovery of a new species of dinosaur, one of the world’s largest, in Australia, more than a decade after ranchers found the animal’s bones.
Research published Monday reports that the herbivorous sauropod lived in the Cretaceous period, between 92 million and 96 million years ago, when Australia was annexed to Antarctica.
Paleontologists have estimated that the dinosaur reached a height of 5 to 6.5 meters at the hip and was between 25 and 30 meters long, making it the length of a basketball court and the height of a two-story building.
This makes the new species the largest dinosaur ever found in Australia and one of the five largest in the world, part of an elite group of titanosaurs previously only found in South America.
“Discoveries like this are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Scott Hocknall, paleontologist and curator of the Queensland Museum.
Paleontologists have called it sauropod.Australutean coprensis‘, and combines ‘southern titan’ with the name of a stream near where the creature’s first bones were found in 2006 at a cattle ranch in Eromanga, Queensland.
Confirmation of the new type marks a seventeen-year journey to first discover Cooper’s bones and then compare Cooper’s bones, as it is informally known, with other finds.
Dinosaur bones are huge, heavy and brittle and are kept in museums around the world, making scientific studies difficult