A team of paleontologists from Curtin University recently examined Australia’s first near-complete dinosaur skull unearthed in Queensland. These analyzes allow for a better understanding of the fauna, and support the idea that a land point existed between Australia and South America some 100 million years ago. Details of the study are published in the journal Royal Society for Open Science.
Titanosaurs and sauropods are a group of large herbivorous dinosaurs characterized by long necks, long tails, massive bodies, and vertical limbs. These animals lived mainly in the Cretaceous period, ca 145 – 66 million years agoalthough some species may have lived a little earlier, during the late Jurassic period.
Titanosaurs were distributed all over the world. It is also known to be one of the last extant groups of sauropods before the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous period, about 66 million years ago. However, although these dinosaurs were diverse and plentiful, A small number of taxa are represented by several skeletonsNot to mention the skulls. In other words, species are generally characterized by a few bones at most.
Diamantinasaurus matildae, which lived in Australia at the level of the current state of Queensland at the beginning of the Upper Cretaceous period, was one of these animals. This sauropod was measured About fifteen metres For about twenty tons on the scale it is so far represented by only three specimens with incomplete skeletons. As part of this new study, paleontologists describe a fourth specimen, this time retaining a B complete skullincluding many skull elements previously unknown to this breed.
Similarities with its Argentinian cousin
The bones of this new specimen, dubbed Ann, were found in 2018 at Elderslie Station, near Winton. As part of their work, the researchers conducted a cross-sectional scan of the specimen’s skull. The length of the latter is about fifty centimeters. Although the right side is mostly missing, most of the left side of the head is still preserved.
Examination of them reveals that this dinosaur bore striking similarities to other known species Sarmientosaurus muscacchio, originally not from Australia, but from Argentina. These include very small, conical shaped teeth. The researchers also found similarities in the structure of the bones of the skull and the back of the head.
Notable similarities between skull morphology Diamantinasaurus matildae Based on Sarmientosaurus muscacchioi Moreover, it is possible that these two types closely related. Both dinosaurs were known to have existed around the same time period, between 95 and 100 million years ago. If this were the case, the study would reinforce the idea, already put forward, that there is a A land bridge between what is now Australia and South Americawhich at the time was connected to Antarctica thanks to much warmer conditions.