Austrosaurus (meaning "Southern lizard") was a sauropod dinosaur from the Winton Formation, from the early Cretaceous (98-95 Million Years ago) of Central-Western Queensland in Australia.
Discovery and species
The remains were discovered by Mr. H.B. Wade on Clutha Station near Maxwelton
in north Queensland in 1932, who alerted the station manager H. Mackillop, who showed his brother who sent them to the Queensland Museum. Austrosaurus
was described by Heber Longman in 1933.
- A. mackillopi
- A. sp. ("Elliot")
In 1999 on a property near Winton in central-western Queensland, Australia, grazier Dave Elliott found a sauropod femur belonging to what turned out to be the largest dinosaur discovered in Australia to that date, which was nicknamed 'Elliot'. At the Winton find, a right femur and portions of several ribs have so far been uncovered. A smaller sauropod, nicknamed 'Mary', after Dr Mary Wade, has also been uncovered. Early indications are that they are closely related to Austrosaurus mackillopi and either in the same or closely related genus.
On 3 May 2007, bones from the remains of two huge titanosaurs which were uncovered in 2004 near Eromanga in south-west Queensland went on display at the Queensland Museum, in Brisbane. This find was described by the ABC news service
as the largest bones now discovered to date in Australia, eclipsing 'Elliot'.
Originally it was thought that the Austrosaurus
had a tendency to spend time near or in water to relieve weight from their legs. However, this theory is now rejected and it is thought that the Austrosaurus
preferred hard, dry land. Fossil finds suggest a height of approximately 3.9 metres at the hip and 4.1 metres at the shoulder, which would have given it an almost level back.
was considered a cetiosaurid
, like Patagosaurus
. However, a recent reappraisal of material by Ralph Molnar
has found that it, and the newer remains of 'Eliot', are titanosaurid
, as various features on the vertebrae
- Long JA (1998). Dinosaurs of Australia and New Zealand and other animals of the Mesozoic Era. UNSW Press. ISBN 0-86840-448-9.
- Molnar RE and Salisbury SW (2005). Thunder Lizards: The Sauropodomorph Dinosaurs. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-34542-1.
- Coombs WP and Molnar RE, (1981) Sauropoda (Reptilia, Saurischia) from the Cretaceous of Queensland. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 20(2):351-373
- Longman HA. 1933 A new dinosaur from the Queensland Cretaceous. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 13:133-144