Toothless, 110 million-year-old dinosaur discovered in Australia

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: May 19, 2020, 03.40 PM(IST)

Representative image. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The elaphrosaur was a member of the theropod family of dinosaurs that included all of the predatory species.

A fossil unearthed in Australia by a volunteer digger has been identified as a rare, toothless dinosaur that roamed the country 110 million years ago.

The elaphrosaur was a member of the theropod family of dinosaurs that included all of the predatory species.

It stood about the height of a small emu, measuring 2 metre from its head to the end of a long tail, and had short arms, each ending in four fingers.

It is the first elaphrosaur bone ever to be found in Australia.

The fossil was discovered by volunteer Jessica Parker, who was taking part in an annual dig led by Melbourne Museum.

Initially, it was thought to be from a flying reptile called a pterosaur. But when palaeontologists at Swinburne University in Melbourne studied the fossil further, they realised it was a delicately-built dinosaur.

Stephen Poropat, the lead researcher behind the find, at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, said elaphrosaurs were ''really rare,'' with just three named species from Tanzania, China and Argentina.

''This is the first record of the group in Australia, and only the second Cretaceous record worldwide.''

Palaeontologists from Swinburne say they are hoping to return to the Cape Otway to hopefully uncover more fossils at the site soon, but plans have been halted for now due to the recent bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic.

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