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

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

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

Kangaroos and wallabies weren't around in Australia 125 million years ago, but small herbivorous dinosaurs that also bounded around on powerful back legs were, experts have found. They found five fossilized upper jaws that resembled the upturned hulls of ships called galleons.

Galleonosaurus dorisae is a close relative of Diluvicursor pickeringi, another small ornithopod named by Dr. Herne and co-authors in 2018, from excavations along the Otway coast to the west of the Gippsland region.

A small, agile dinosaur with powerful hind legs roamed the ancient rift valley between Australia and Antarctica during the Cretaceous period.

Over time, they mixed with dinosaur bones and fallen trees.

Importantly, the fossil group included specimens from individuals ranging in age from young to mature, marking "the first time an age range has been identified from the jaws of an Australian dinosaur", says Matthew Herne, lead study author and postdoctoral fellow at the University of New England. For comparison, wallabies range in size from 12 inches to 41 inches, according to National Geographic. Their analysis suggests that G.

Discovering the differences in dinosaur evolution in different areas and seeing what evolutionary paths the various species took can help researchers determine what the Earth was like many millions of years ago.

"However, Qantassaurus intrepidus had a shorter more robust snout than that of Galleonosaurus dorisae", Dr. Herne said. "We are steadily building a picture of terrestrial dinosaur interchange between the shifting Gondwanan continents of Australia, South America and Antarctica during the Cretaceous period", Herne said.

The land down under is now the land before time.

Researchers from the Dinosaur Dreaming project, which runs out of Monash University and Museum Victory, discovered the dinosaur, which was reportedly smaller than most common ones. Finding species on a now-isolated land mass like Australia and then finding the same or similar species in other areas of the world also aids scientists in determining when land masses separated.

Galleonosaurus is the fifth ornithopod genus (the classification right above species) identified from Victoria, which "confirms" that these small-bodied dinosaurs were very diverse and thrived in the rift valley that spanned Australia and Antarctica, Herne said.

The findings were published in the Journal of Paleontology.