The fossilized skeleton, nicknamed ‘Cooper’, was found in southwest Queensland in 2007 at Copper Creek in the Eromanga Basin. But the skeleton remained a mystery for years, only being described and named scientifically by paleontologists.
It is estimated that Cooper, whose scientific name is Australotitan coprensis, walked the Earth more than 90 million years ago. It was a titanosaur – a herbivorous species belonging to the family of long-necked sauropods, the largest of the dinosaur species.
It is estimated that the dinosaur was 5 to 6.5 meters high at the hip and 25 to 30 meters long, making it the length of a basketball court and the length of a two-story building.
With its long neck and tail, it probably resembles the most famous Brachiosaurus.
Robin McKenzie, co-founder of the Eromanga Museum of Natural History, said the team of paleontologists were quickly able to determine the size of bone fragments belonging to a large species.
“The pieces were very big and thick,” she said. “We were able to measure the bones and compare them with other species in Australia and the rest of the world.”
Several large pieces, including the dinosaur’s shoulder bones, pelvic bones, and limbs, were nearly intact. However, researchers have encountered delays in identifying the species due to challenges in managing its large, brittle bones.
The huge size of the bones means they have been stored in museums, often hundreds of miles away.
So the team used 3D technology to scan every bone in the Titanosaur, allowing them to digitally compare the bones with those of similar species.
Australotitan has been found closely related to three other Australian sauropods that were discovered further north in the town of Winton.
The study also points to new dinosaur discoveries that could be made in Australia.
McKenzie said the “discoveries put Australia on the map” and allowed the country to join others in making progress in paleontology. These types of “Giant dinosaurs” are found widely in South America Yet – which makes this discovery even rarer.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg of discoveries in Australia,” she said. “This opened a new frontier for dinosaurs.”
(translated text; Read the original text In English)