SYDNEY (Reuters) — Scientists have confirmed the discovery of a new dinosaur species in Australia, one of the largest found in the world, more than a decade after cattle farmers first uncovered bones of the animal.
That makes the new species the largest dinosaur ever found in Australia and puts it in the top five in the world, joining an elite group of titanosaurs previously only discovered in South America.
“Discoveries like this are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Queensland Museum curator and palaeontologist Scott Hocknull.
The confirmation of the new species marks a seventeen-year long journey to first unearth and then compare the bones of “Cooper,” as the dinosaur is more informally known, to other finds.
“To make sure Australotitan was a different species, we needed to compare its bones to the bones of other species from Queensland and globally,” Hocknull said.
Robyn Mackenzie, who was mustering cattle with her husband Stuart on their property when they discovered the bones, founded the Eromanga Natural History Museum to house the find.
Hocknull said even larger dinosaur specimens are waiting to be discovered, given the plant-eating sauropods were generally preyed on by huge theropods.