New tiny dinosaur discovered in Australia

Federico Mansilla
Marcha 12, 2019

This indicates that they liked the forest-covered floodplain of the ancient Australian-Antarctic rift valley millions of years ago.

Dinosaurs the size of wallabies were running around Australia 125 million years ago, according to an analysis of jaw fossils.

Galleonosaurus dorisae is named both for the shape of its jaw, which resembles the hull of a galleon ship, and for paleontologist Doris Seegets-Villiers, who has studied fossils in the area.

Over time, they mixed with dinosaur bones and fallen trees. The researchers believe the volcanic debris originated much farther east from where the bones were discovered, and was carried west by rivers, causing the bones and volcanic material to mix before eventually settling and hardening over more than 100 million years.

The small dinosaurs were considered "agile runners" that stood a little over two feet tall, said Matthew Herne, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of New England.

Prior to finding Galleonosaurus Dorisae, the only other dinosaur found in this area had been Qantassaurus intrepidus.

Specimens of Galleonosaurus dorisae from the Flat Rocks Sandstone in the upper Barremian Wonthaggi Formation Gippsland Basin southeastern Australia. Scale bars- 10 mm; 1 mm. Image credit Herne et al doi 10.1017/jpa.2018.95
New tiny dinosaur discovered in Australia

"However, Qantassaurus intrepidus had a shorter more robust snout than that of Galleonosaurus dorisae", Dr. Herne said.

"We are steadily building a picture of terrestrial dinosaur interchange between the shifting Gondwanan continents of Australia, South America, and Antarctica during the Cretaceous period", he said in a statement.

The new finding suggests, "land connections (land bridges) between Australia and South America, via Antarctica, must have been available to dinosaur groups at times during the Cretaceous that resulted in closer genetic links between the dinosaurs on these continents than between these dinosaurs and those in other places", he wrote in an email to Live Science.

Researchers from the Dinosaur Dreaming project, which runs out of Monash University and Museum Victory, discovered the dinosaur, which was reportedly smaller than most common ones.

Dr. Herne said that the presence of the Galleonosaurus Dorisae in the Victoria region "confirms that on a global scale, the diversity of these small-bodied dinosaurs had been unusually high in the ancient rift valley that once extended between the spreading continents of Australia and Antarctica".

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