Photo credit: Vlad Konstantinov and Scott Hocknull | Eromanga Natural History Museum
Nicknamed Cooper due to where it was found and scientifically classified as Australotitan cooperensis, this newly discovered dinosaur species is now among the 15 largest ever found worldwide. It measures approximately 16-21 feet tall and up to 98-feet long, which makes it as large as a basketball court. How did this dinosaur look? The team says it was most likely a giant sauropod, or a plant-eating subgroup characterized by their elongated necks, long tails and four trunk-like legs. Read more for a video and additional information.
Australotitan is believed to have lived 92-96 million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period, and to classify it as such, the scientists created 3D scans of each bone and compared them to other known sauropod species around the world. They also found out that the newly classified species was closely related to three other Australian sauropods — Diamantinasaurus, Savannasaurus and Wintonotitan — that all lived on the continent at that time.
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It’s taken this long because it’s such a painstaking piece of work. You’ve got to take the bones out of the ground, you’ve got to prepare the fossils and then you’ve got to study them and compare them against all other species of dinosaurs worldwide. In Australia, it’s certainly the largest animal that’s ever walked the outback. This is huge, this is a fantastic beast. Imagine something the size of a basketball court walking around on land,” said Scott Hocknull, a paleontologist at the Queensland Museum.