Australian Scientists say the discovery of a new dinosaur species in South Gippsland sheds new light on Australia’s – Late Jurassic to Late Cretaceous – prehistoric period. A fossil found at San Remo, at Phillip Island, has been confirmed as belonging to a ceratosaur which has not been previously found in Australia
The fossil – an ankle bone found in 2006 – is the first evidence that this group of dinosaur roamed Australia, scientists preciously believed these carnivorous dinosaurs were limited to Western Gondwana, current day South America, Africa, Madagascar, India and Europe. The fossil find – outlined in the journal Naturwissenschaften this week – shows that Eastern Gondwana was rife with dinosaur diverstiy during a period in our prehistoric history previously thought to be dull ::::
Museum Victoria’s palaeobiologist Dr Erich Fitzgerald says the carnivorous dinosaurs walked the earth about 125 million years ago. In the report Dr Fitzgerald puts it all a little more eloquently saying that “This fossil adds to the poorly known dinosaur fauna of Australia, emphasising that its mid-Cretaceous theropod diversity was surprisingly cosmopolitan despite relative geographic isolation”
Dr Fitzgerald says it is a major scientific discovery. “We can now say that ceratosaurs, this group of small to very large carnivorous dinosaurs, did live in Australia and it tells us something a bit more about the kinds of dinosaurs that lived in Australia,” he said.
Dr Fitzgerald says the discovery suggests many types of dinosaurs inhabited Australia before the continent broke away from Gondwana.
“It may be that the dinosaurs that lived here in Australia were the ones that spread out very early in their history, spread across the globe before the continent started to break up and split apart and go their separate ways,” he said. “So Australia was, in many ways, a melting pot of dinosaurs.”
CHECK: Erich Fitzgerald’s profile at Victoria Museum, his work in biological palaeontology is übercool…
Research Fellow, Vertebrate Palaeontology
Dr Erich Fitzgerald is a zoologist who investigates the evolution of marine mammals by uncovering their fossil record and studying aquatic adaptations of living cetaceans, seals, and dugongs. He is especially interested in cetology, the study of whales and dolphins.
source: museum victoria