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New Dinosaur Species Discovered In Australia

Paleontologists are confident that new species will be announced

Australian palaeontologists are confident that two tonnes of newly excavated dinosaur bones may lead to the identification of a new species of dinosaur underneath. Australia is proving to be one of the ‘hotspots’ for new dinosaur discoveries with the last few years or so being particularly fruitful for the unearthing of dinosaur fossils from this vast country. A number of new Jurassic and Cretaceous dinosaurs have recently been described from Australian fossils.

Shipping to Queensland

A recent expedition to a remote dig site in western Queensland led to the discovery of the new fossils, which date to the mid-Cretaceous period. The area the team explored has proven to be a successful dinosaur hunt in the past with the fossilized remains of a large sauropod dinosaur being found.

Amateur palaeontologist David Elliott, of the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Institute who organized the expedition, said the new bones were thought to be too small to belong to a Sauropod (a large, long-necked dinosaur).

He went on to comment on the chances of these fossils representing a new species to science as very likely with at least one new species of dinosaur being described.

Although the country is vast, only a few species of dinosaurs have been scientifically described to date, the possibility of finding more new types of dinosaurs is indeed very high.

Australia Part of Gondwanaland for much of prehistory

For much of prehistory, the land masses that were to form the southern continents joined together to form a single supercontinent called Gondwanaland. By the middle of the Cretaceous period this land mass had begun to break up. South America, India and Africa were separated, and Australia was joined to Antarctica by a series of thin and temporary land bridges that may have been cut off during periods of sea-level rise, isolating Australia’s fauna and flora. The formation of the Southeast Indian Ridge (a mid-ocean ridge, formed at the edge of a tectonic plate), initiated the opening of a sea channel between Australia and Antarctica. Australia was slowly pushed northward as the new ocean floor was created by submarine volcanic activity and this floor spread out on both sides of the ridge.

Australia is still moving north

Australia still today continues its northward progress and in millions of years time will collide with New Guinea. Australia’s isolation during the mid-Cretaceous allowed the evolution of many unique types of dinosaurs and other animals.

This is why Australian scientists are confident that the new fossils will turn out to be a new species. Mission leaders estimate they have another eight months of lab preparation ahead of them before they can come to a clear conclusion as to exactly what they have dug up.

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