Incredible dinosaur discovery: Herd of opal-encrusted dinos uncovered

James Marshall
June 5, 2019

"With more palaeontologists and scientists looking further afield than ever before, it's an exciting time for dinosaur lovers everywhere, especially in Australia".

Ancient cultures have long considered opal a special gemstone because of its ability to capture so many different colors.

GOLD COAST, Australia-Fossilized dinosaur remains recovered from an opal mine in the Australian Outback have been found to be from four specimens of a new species, the first time a dinosaur herd has been discovered in the nation's history.

Australia is a major source of the world's opal, particularly the black opal found in the town of Lightning Ridge, New South Wales. That someone just happened to be Bob Foster.

Frustrated by the number of dinosaur bones he was finding (after all, his livelihood was based on opals), Foster made the long trip to the Australian Museum in Sydney, over 800 kilometres away.

Palaeontologists in Australia have identified a previously unknown plant-eating dinosaur from the mid-Cretaceous.

However, numerous remains are often found in mining spoil, because they sit in rock strata that lies up to 30 meters (98.4 feet) underground.

"I said, "I'm the bloke who rang you up, I've got two bags of dinosaur bones here, ' and they looked at each other like, 'Here's another one"-they get people coming in all the time", Foster told The New York Times".

And then, for some inexplicable reason, the biggest collection of opalised dinosaur fossils went completely unstudied. "I opened them and threw the bones all out on the table and they were diving to catch them before they landed on the floor. They changed their approach".

A toe bone was one of the 60 collected from the mine.

The museum sent army reservists to excavate more fossils at Lightning Ridge. In fact, Foster later found some of the fossils on display at an opal store in Sydney. After this, other scientists started examining them.

The new study detailing the fossils published Monday in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Preserved in opal, the glittering remains were first discovered in 1984 by Australian miner Bob Foster, who worked in an outback town and fossil hotspot named Lightning Ridge.

The species name, dhimbangunmal (pronounced bim-baan goon-mal), means "sheep yard" in the local Yuwaalaraay and Yuwaalayaay languages, in recognition of the Sheepyard opal field where Foster originally found the bones. These include small juvenile dinosaurs and larger creatures, which may have been 16.4 feet in length.

A herd of opal-encrusted dinosaurs representing an entirely new species has been discovered in Australia.

A unusual collection of unstudied bones on show at Australia's oldest museum for years has turned out to be an entirely new dinosaur species - and the first evidence of a dinosaur herd in the country, including the most complete opalised dinosaur skeleton in the world. The bones were closely studied in order to determine what species they belonged to, but when no exact match was found it became clear that it was an entirely new species. The new dinosaur fossil was found in an opal mine and has turned into the gem itself, making it the most complete opalized dinosaur skeleton in the world, according to a new study.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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