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Top 10 list of dinosaurs found in Australia

Now, more than ever before, paleontologists and even keen-eyed observers are finding dinosaurs in Australia. Since the early 2000’s new dinosaur discoveries in Australia have exploded!


Find out our 10 favorite dinosaurs found in Australia


1. Atlascopcosaurus


Atlascopcosaurus is a small, 2-legged ornithopod dinosaur found on the coast of Victoria in 1984. Even though only a few pieces of upper jaw were found, this became the type specimen for a new species. Atlascopcosaurus was an herbivore of about 3 meters in length that lived 121-97 million years ago during the early Cretaceous. It had an unusual five-fingered hand with the three middle fingers ending in hoof-like claws.


Fun Fact: Atlascopcosaurus was named after a company called Atlas Copco which contributed with assistance and equipment to unearth these fossils.


2. Australotitan

© Vlad Konstantinov and Scott Hocknull_Eromanga Natural History Museum

Australotitan is a sauropod found in Queensland in 2005 by Sandy Mackenzie, near his hometown of Eromanga. Australotitan is a new species of herbivorous titanosaur and is the largest known Australian dinosaur, to date. The specimen, nicknamed “Cooper,” was alive 95-98 million years ago, and would have measured 30 meters in length and 6.5 meters in height. Cooper is one of the 10 largest dinosaurs ever found in the world. Paleontologists believe that Australotitan lived in a lush, tree-filled environment filled. To see Cooper’s beautiful fossils in person, visit the Eromanga Natural History Museum, an incredible museum developed by the family of Sandy Mackenzie, who worked on the excavation.


Fun Fact: Ancient Odysseys has partnered with Australian Geographic Magazine to offer a megafauna dig with the Eromanga Natural History Museum.


3. Austrosaurus


One of the first dinosaur fossils finds in Australia were the vertebrae of a sauropod from the Early Cretaceous that lived about 105-103 million years ago. The Austrosaurus was a large titanosaur discovered in Queensland in 1932. It stood about 3.5 meters in height at the shoulders and was about 15 meters long. This herbivore most likely ate a diet of gingkos, seed ferns, cycads, Italian Bennett, ferns, club thighs and horsetails.


Fun Fact: Titanosaurs, the largest of the sauropods, have been found on all seven continents.


4. Australovenator


Is a meat-eating theropod dinosaur found near Winton, Queensland. This new species of megaraptor had large, deadly claws. The fossils of “Banjo” comprise the most complete non-avian theropod skeleton found in Australia with almost complete arms, hands, legs, feet, some back and belly ribs, and parts of the lower jaw. Australovenator lived about 93 million years ago and was fast, but small, measuring only about 1.6 meters in height and 5–6 meters long.


Fun Fact: Banjo the Australovenator was found in a highly unusual position. He was found in sediment intertwined with those of a sauropod, Diamantinasaurus;


5. Diamantinasaurus


Winton is teeming with dinosaurs! After about 75 years with no new dinosaurs named in Australia, 2005 entered the record books with the discovery of the genus Diamantinsaurus. An herbivore and the most complete Cretaceous sauropod ever found in Australia, the first Diamantinasaurus which was found intermingled with Australovenator.Diamantinasaurus lived about 100 million years ago. When alive, it would have measured about 3 meters in height and up to 16 meters long.


Fun Fact: The origin of the naming of Diamantinasaurus matildaa will bring a smile to most Australians. This newly discovered dinosaur’s name is a nod to the song “Waltzing Matilda,” which was penned in nearby Winton. The dinosaur’s nickname is in fact “Matilda.”


You can work on preparing both Diamantinasaurus, and Australovenator dinosaur fossils yourself nearby where these dinosaur were found. Join in the fun for a day or more at the fossil prep lab at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs in Winton!

6. Minmi


Minmi is an ankylosaur found in 1964 close to the town of Roma, Queensland. Minmi was an armored dinosaur lived about 120 million years ago and measured about 3 meters long and less than 1 meter tall. Minmi was the first ankylosaur ever found in the Southern Hemisphere and found fossils include plates of belly armor, back vertebrae, ribs and a back leg. Researchers were able to study gut contents of this specimen and found that, as an herbivore, Minmi ate a diet of seeds, ferns and other soft plant material. Although Minmi has been renamed Kunbarrasaurus ieversi in 2015, this dinosaur is still sometimes referred to as Minmi.


Fun Fact: Unlike other ankylosaurs, Minmi had neither a clubbed tail nor skull armor.


7. Muttaburrasaurus


Muttaburrasaurus was a large ornithopod that lived during the early Cretaceous, about 103 million years ago. It was wide-ranging, having lived in both Queensland and New South Wales, with quite a lot of Muttaburrasaurus fossils having been found near Hughenden. Muttaburrasaurus stood abougt 2.5 meters tall and measured about 7 meters in length. It had a few distinguishing features, including the ability to walk on all four legs or upright on its back legs. Muttaburrasaurus also had a unique head that includes a raised bump on its snout and horny beak.


Fun Fact: Muttaburrasaurus was the first dinosaur in Australia to be cast and mounted. It can be seen at the Flinders Discovery Centre in the town of Hughenden, close to where the first fossils of Muttaburrasaurus were originally found.


If you go to Hughenden, be sure to join in the search to find and keep local ammonite and belemnites which proliferate in the area too!

8. Ozraptor


Although very few dinosaur fossils have been found in Western Australia, the discovery of the Ozraptor was widely heralded. Although Ozraptor was found in 1966 by students from Scotch College, for decades, the fossil was thought to be a turtle. It wasn’t until 1996 that Australian paleontologist John Long described the bone as a partial theropod shinbone. Ozraptor is quite old, dating from the Middle Jurassic, or 170–168 million years ago. Not much is known about this Ozraptor since no other fossils have been discovered.


Fun Fact: The name for Ozraptor Subotai was influenced by the schoolboys who found the bone. Ozraptor is an obvious reference to Australia, while the species Subotai is based off a character in the movie Conan the Barbarian.


9. Rhoetosaurus

Rhoetosaurus one of the oldest of Australian dinosaurs
Photo credit: LC Ball

Rhoetosaurus is even older than Ozraptor and is one of the oldest dinosaur specimens ever found in Australia, dating from the mid-Jurassic, or about 177 million years ago. A few Rhoetosaurus bones were first unearthed in 1924 near Roma, Queensland, but subsequent excavations resulted in a truly incredible find. With over 20 vertebrae, tail bones, femur, pelvis, ribs, leg bones and an almost complete back foot, Rhoetosaurus is the most complete sauropod skeleton ever found in Australia This herbivore was a primitive form of sauropod that measured about 15 meters in length.


Fun Fact: Rhoetosaurus may have been the first named dinosaur found in Australia, but the very first dinosaur fossil ever found in Australia was a 115-million-year-old theropod claw in 1903 at Cape Paterson, Victoria.


10. Weewarrasaurus

Source: http://www.sci-news.com/paleontology/weewarrasaurus-pobeni-06691.html

Weewarrasaurus is a gem of a dinosaur…in the most literal sense. In 2013, a discerning opal buyer found small fossilized jaw fragments in a bag of rough opals from Lightning Ridge, New South Wales. This was discovered to be a new species of small herbivorous dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous 113–100 million years ago. The fossil is incredible, in that it was found preserved in green-blue opal, and is one of the rarest fossil finds in Australia. See the original Weewarrasaurus yourself at the Australian Opal Centre in Lightning Ridge.


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