Australian spinosaur discovery


This video is about Spinosaurus.

From Monash University in Australia:

Finding the spinosaur dinosaur

Thursday, 16 June 2011

A team of palaeontologists, including scientists from Monash University and Museum Victoria, has identified fossil evidence of the first-ever Australian spinosaur dinosaur. A neck vertebra found in Victoria sheds new light on the evolutionary history of the spinosaurs.

Published today in Biology Letters, this important discovery suggests that this group of ‘spine lizard’ dinosaurs once roamed the globe and were not restricted to a particular region, as previously thought.

Professor Patricia Vickers-Rich from Monash University explained that at the time the dinosaur lived, Australia was not isolated entirely from the rest of the globe.

“This challenges ideas that an endemic terrestrial fauna was present in Australia some 110-120 million years ago,” said Professor Vickers-Rich.

Dr Thomas Rich from Museum Victoria and Research Adjunct in the School of Geosciences at Monash said: “Spinosaurs were previously known to be from Europe, Africa and South America. The fact that they existed in Australia changes our understanding of the evolution of this group of dinosaurs.”

“The existence of the neck vertebra adds to the view that in the Early Cretaceous period, the dinosaur faunas found in many other parts of the world were also found in Australia.”

The presence of an Australian spinosaur in combination with recent discoveries of other dinosaur groups on this continent, previously thought to be restricted to the Northern Hemisphere, provides further evidence for the worldwide distribution of dinosaur faunas.

“The same groups of dinosaurs were widespread when the Earth was once a supercontinent,” said Dr Rich.

“When the earth evolved into separate continents, the various families of dinosaurs had already reached those landmasses, which explains why the same ones have been found in places now far apart from one another.”

The fossil was discovered by Michael Cleeland and George Casper near the Cape Otway Lighthouse in Victoria in 2005. The fossil was later identified by the paper’s lead author Dr Paul Barrett from the Natural History Museum in London. The analysis was carried out by Dr Barrett working in conjunction with co-author Dr Roger Benson of the University of Cambridge, Dr Rich and Professor Vickers-Rich.

Measuring around 4cm in length, the neck vertebra belonged to a small spinosaur around two metres long, which lived about 105 million years ago during the Early Cretaceous period.

First spinosaurid dinosaur from Australia and the cosmopolitanism of Cretaceous dinosaur faunas is written by Dr Paul M Barrett, National History Museum, Roger B J Benson, University of Cambridge, Dr Thomas Rich, Museum Victoria and Dr Patricia Vickers-Rich, Monash University and is published in Biology Letters.

Big dinos were about as warm as people, study finds: here.

8 thoughts on “Australian spinosaur discovery

  1. Dinosaurs in Australia. Mesozoic Life from the Southern Continent by Benjamin P. Kear and Robert J. Hamilton-Bruce . CSIRO Publishing , 2011 . Paperback. ISBN 97806-43100459 . AU$79.95 .

    Here is a publication which will appeal to the amateur and the specialist alike. The main title and cover illustration will draw the attention of the general reader, whilst the subtitle tells of its scope and content. Dinosaurs in fact are only a small part of the extensive Australian fossil record. Whilst there is what the specialist needs in terms of detail and a quite extensive bibliography, the general reader is taken step by step through the aspects of Mesozoic life, with each new term explained as it is met. The introductory chapter sets the scene with accounts of types of fossil formation and their dating, with maps of Gondwanaland and modern plate boundaries. Then the Mesozoic itself is described in some detail, with the three systems broken down through series into the thirty component stages.

    Chapters deal with Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous assemblages of plants and animals, each with very different climatic conditions. There are extensive coloured illustrations of the various forms of fossils, as well as 12 reconstructions of some of the more spectacular animals, mostly reptiles. That on the cover is of an unnamed theropod dinosaur. Much of the fossil record is aquatic, particularly in the Cretaceous. Australian dinosaur fossils are relatively rare in comparison to their abundance in Asia and the Americas. For instance, the only definitive Triassic evidence of the group comes from footprints. By the Cretaceous, bone fossils are quite abundant but fragmentary. As well as true dinosaurs, Plesiosaurs and Pterosaurs are represented.

    This book is comprehensive in its scope and the detail of its up to date references, and should prove valuable to a very wide readership.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1096-3642.2011.00796.x/full

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