New 'wallaby' dinosaur discovered in Australia. Here's what it looked like

James Marshall
March 12, 2019

Archaeologists recently discovered fossils from this wallaby-size species while excavating 125-million-year-old rocks in Victoria, Australia.

The finding "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", Herne said.

While small in stature, it's likely that the Galleonosaurus dorisae - whose name refers to the shape of the dinosaur's jaw - "would have been agile runners on their powerful hind legs", Dr. Herne added.

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

The Galleonosaurus, however, was much smaller, and named for its upper jaw, which resembles a ship (or a galleon).

This marks "the first time an age range has been identified from the jaws of an Australian dinosaur", according to Herne. "Sediments from these volcanoes were carried down huge rivers, where dinosaur bones and fallen foliage were mixed in-creating sedimentary basins that show life on Earth at the time", Osborne writes.

Herne and his team also found Diluvicursor pickeringi, another small ornithopod, in the area in 2018, but Gallenosaurus is 12 million years older. Their analysis suggests that G.

Prior to discovery of Galleonosaurus dorisae, the only other ornithopod known from the Gippsland region was Qantassaurus intrepidus, named in 1999.

Galleonosaurus
Pieces of jawbone from Galleonosaurus. Matthew Herne

"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.

During the Cretaceous period, as the supercontinent Gondwana was slowly drifting apart, an 1,800-mile rift valley stood between Australia and Antarctica.

The land down under is now the land before time.

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. But it wasn't until recently that the scientists studied and described the species.

The dinosaur would have been a small yet quick member of the large family called ornithopods, which also included iguanodons.

The findings were published in the Journal of Paleontology.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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