The fossilized bones of a huge dinosaur were discovered in 2006 on an Australian farm, a thousand kilometers west of Brisbane, in the Eromanga Basin, and the skeleton was named “Cooper”, named after it. ‘a river in the state of Queensland.
The skeleton was formally identified as the specimen of a new species, named Australotitan cooperensis, and one of the largest animals known to ever walk the earth’s surface. This dinosaur belongs to the titanosaur group, which lived almost one hundred million years ago. Specimens of this group of long-necked herbivorous dinosaurs have been found on all continents.
Scientists estimate that it was 5 to 6.5 meters high and 25 to 30 meters long, making it the largest known Australian dinosaur. “If we trust the size comparisons of the limbs, this new titanosaur is one of the five largest in the world”said Robyn Mackenzie of the Eromanga Natural History Museum in southwest Queensland.
“Very long process”
This discovery was initially kept secret while the researchers patiently carried out the excavation site. The skeleton was first exhibited to the public in 2007. Scott Hocknull, a paleontologist at the Queensland Museum, explained that confirmation that Cooper did indeed belong to a new species was the result of a “Very long and tedious process”. The research, which involved 3D comparisons of Cooper’s bones with those of his closest cousins, was published Monday, June 7 in the scientific journal. PeerJ.
Many other dinosaur bones have been found in the same area, Hocknull said, adding that more excavation was needed. “Discoveries like these are just the tip of the iceberg”, he said. The largest known dinosaur to date is Patagotitan swimmer, the “Patagonian titan”, discovered in Argentina and described in 2017. Paleontologists have estimated that it could weigh around 70 tonnes, the equivalent of about ten African elephants, and measure around 37 meters long and 8 meters at the withers.