Sydney: Paleontologists on Thursday announced the discovery of bones of an “old” dinosaur with the long thought-to-be-lost site of a long-necked Austrosaurus mckillopi found in Australia’s outback.
The name Austrosaurus, meaning “southern lizard”, was given to the cretaceous-era sauropod back when it was discovered in 1932, but the digging site was thought to be lost until it was rediscovered in 2014 by a team of paleontologists.
Stephen Poropat from the Swinburne University of Technology spearheaded the drive to find the long-lost site, and told Xinhua news agency on Thursday that this find has the potential to “tell us a lot” about how the evolution process for sauropod dinosaurs occurred.
“What the dinosaur represents is one of the oldest sauropods dinosaurs from the cretaceous period. Anyway, in Australia, it is actually represented by several bones,” Poropat said.
“Basically, the bones we dug up in 2014, and 2015, belong to the exact same animal that was discovered in the 1930s. So together, those ribs and those vertebrae, not many bones — but enough to do something with them — that is the only specimen of Austrosaurus that has been found.”
Poropat said by conducting a detailed analysis of the find, he was able to ascertain some “distinct characteristics” of Austrosaurus, and hopes to find a more complete specimen to fully develop an idea of the Australian dinosaurs position on the family tree — despite the inherent challenges.