Scientists discovered a new 'wallaby-sized' dinosaur in Australia

13 Mars, 2019, 10:57 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Galleonosaurus dorisae

Meet the "Galleonosaurus dorisae", or Galleonosaurus for short. Herne says this "affirms that on a worldwide scale, the diversity of these little bodied dinosaurs had been curiously high in the ancient rift valley that once stretched out between the spreading continent of Australia and Antarctica".

Kangaroos and wallabies weren't round in Australia 125 million years in the past, however small herbivorous dinosaurs that additionally bounded round on highly effective again legs have been.

Writing in the Journal of Paleontology, the team dubs the dinosaur Galleonosaurus dorisae-a name inspired by the shape of the creature's jaw, which resembles a galleon ship, and paleontologist Doris Seegets-Villiers, who wrote her Ph.D. thesis on the area where the fossils were found. The dinosaur fossils weren't as large as those of carnivorous dinosaurs from Europe and Americas. A portion of these sediments was conveyed westbound by expansive waterways into the Australian-Antarctic break valley where they shaped profound sedimentary basins.

The bones were buried in volcanic sediments that were likely carried in by rivers that flowed from an eastern volcanic range active during the Cretaceous period. Herne also found another small ornithopod called Diluvicursor pirckeringi in the same area in 2018.

Nonetheless, as these silt washed down the waterways of the crack valley the bones of dinosaurs, for example, Galleonosaurus and different vertebrates, alongside the logs of fallen trees, wound up mixed in.

Galleonosaurus
Pieces of jawbone from Galleonosaurus. Matthew Herne

"This land has now vanished, however as "time-travelers" we get snapshots of this exceptional world through the rocks and fossils uncovered alongside the coast of Victoria", Herne mentioned. However, Gallenosaurus is estimated to be 12 million years older.

The G. dorisae fossils were discovered a decade or so ago by volunteers with the Dinosaur Dreaming project - directed by paleontologists of Museums Victoria and Monash University - who were excavating near the towns of Inverloch and Wonthaggi, according to the statement. The researchers believe this shows that dinosaurs were living and evolving in the rift valley for a long time.

Prior to discovery of Galleonosaurus dorisae, the only other ornithopod known from the Gippsland region was Qantassaurus intrepidus, named in 1999. This allowed them to peacefully coexist. That's even harder still, but researchers in Victoria, Australia did just that, and the newly documented herbivore would probably have been pretty adorable to see in person.

The new finding suggests, "land connections (land bridges) between Australia and South America, via Antarctica, must have been available to dinosaur groups at times during the Cretaceous that resulted in closer genetic links between the dinosaurs on these continents than between these dinosaurs and those in other places", he wrote in an email to Live Science.

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