Austrosaurus

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Austrosaurus
Temporal range: Early Cretaceous, 110–105Ma
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Superorder: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Sauropodomorpha
Infraorder: Sauropoda
(unranked): Titanosauria
Genus: Austrosaurus
Longman, 1933
Species: A. mckillopi
Binomial name
Austrosaurus mckillopi Longman, 1933

Austrosaurus (meaning "Southern lizard") was an extinct genus of sauropod dinosaur from the Allaru Formation, from the early Cretaceous (110-105 million years ago) of Central-Western Queensland in Australia.

Discovery and species[edit]

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.

Paleobiology[edit]

Originally it was thought that sauropods spent time near or in water to relieve weight from their legs.[1] However, this theory is now rejected and it is believed that Austrosaurus like all sauropods lived on 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.

Classification[edit]

Initially, Austrosaurus was considered a cetiosaurid, like Patagosaurus or Shunosaurus. 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 show. Hocknull et al. (2009) described the new sauropod Wintonotitan from material that originally assigned to Austrosaurus by Coombs and Molnar in 1981.[2][3] Hocknull suggested that Austrosaurus mckillopi differed only slightly from the QMF 7292, the holotype of Wintonotitan wattsii, and should be considered a nomen dubium.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Martin, Anthony J. (2006). Introduction to the Study of Dinosaurs. Blackwell Publishing. pp. 434–435. ISBN 1-4051-3413-5. 
  2. ^ Hocknull, SA; White, MA; Tischler, TR, Cook AG, Calleja ND, Sloan T, Elliott DA (2009). New Mid-Cretaceous (Latest Albian) Dinosaurs from Winton, Queensland, Australia. PLOS ONE. 4: 7 e6190.
  3. ^ Coombs, W.P. and Molnar, R.E., 1981, Sauropoda (Reptilia, Saurischia) from the Cretaceous of Queensland: Queensland Museum, Memoirs, v. 20, pp. 351–372

Further reading[edit]

  • 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). "Observations on Cretaceous Sauropods from Australia". In Carpenter, Kenneth and Tidswell, Virginia. Thunder Lizards: The Sauropodomorph Dinosaurs. Indiana University Press. pp. 454–465. 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. ISSN 1440-4788. 
  • Longman, HA (1933). "A new dinosaur from the Queensland Cretaceous". Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 13: 133–144. ISSN 1440-4788. 
  • Hocknull, Scott A.; White, Matt A.; Tischler, Travis R.; Cook, Alex G.; Calleja, Naomi D.; Sloan, Trish; Elliott, David A. (2009). Sereno, Paul, ed. "New Mid-Cretaceous (Latest Albian) Dinosaurs from Winton, Queensland, Australia". PLoS ONE 4 (7): e6190. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006190. PMC 2703565. PMID 19584929. 

External links[edit]