Herd of Dinosaurs Discovered in Underground Opal Mine

Scientists have revealed th at fossils from an underground opal mine near Lightning Ridge, outback NSW (Australia), include remains from a herd of dinosaurs, among them a new dinosaur species and the world’s most complete opalized dinosaur.

Dr. Phil Bell, lead researcher from the University of New England in Armidale, said he was stunned by the sheer number of bones found. “We initially assumed it was a single skeleton, but when I started looking at some of the bones, I realized that we had four scapulae (shoulder blades) all from different sized animals.” It is the first dinosaur “herd” to be discovered in Australia.

The new dinosaur has been named Fostoria dhimbangunmal in honor of opal miner Robert Foster, who discovered the fossils in the 1980s. The species name, dhimbangunmal (pronounced bim-baan goon-mal), means “sheep yard” in the local Yuwaalaraay and Yuwaalayaay languages, in recognition of the Sheepyard locality where the bones were found.

In total, parts of four Fostoria skeletons were unearthed, ranging from small juveniles to larger animals that might have been five meters in length, prompting speculation they were part of a small herd or family.

A fossil vertebrae of the newly discovered dinosaur species Fostoria dhimbangunmal
discovered in opal [Credit: Robert A. Smith/Australian Opal Centre]

The bones, which are mostly grey potch opal, were found in the 1980s by opal miner Robert Foster at the Sheepyard opal field, near Lightning Ridge. Scientists from the Australian Museum in Sydney helped excavate the fossils, but the bones remained unstudied until donated to the Australian Opal Centre by Robert’s children Gregory and Joanne Foster in 2015, under the Federal Government’s Cultural Gift Program.

Jenni Brammall, paleontologist and special projects officer of the Australian Opal Centre, says, “Fostoria has given us the most complete opalized dinosaur skeleton in the world. Partial skeletons of extinct swimming reptiles have been found at other Australian opal fields, but for opalized dinosaurs we generally have only a single bone or tooth or in rare instances, a few bones. To recover dozens of bones from the one skeleton is a first.”

A fossilized toe bone of Fostoria dhimbangunmal found in opal
[Credit: Robert A. Smith/Australian Opal Centre]

Fostoria was a two-legged plant-eating iguanodontian dinosaur closely related to the famous Muttaburrasaurus from central Queensland, which was discovered in 1980.

The discovery comes on the back of the new small plant-eating dinosaur also from Lightning Ridge, Weewarrasaurus pobeni, which was named by Dr. Bell and colleagues late last year.

“The rate of discovery is astounding. On average, there’s at least one new dinosaur discovered around the world every week,” Dr. Bell said. “With more palaeontologists and scientists looking further afield than ever before, it’s an exciting time for dinosaur lovers everywhere, especially in Australia.”

The new research was published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Source: University of New England [June 05, 2019]

Source: https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/>

Related Posts

Blue-footed Boobies are Incredibly Adorable Birds

It’s Blue Monday today, supposedly the most depressing day of the year, although with the start 2021’s got off to, and the precedent set by last year,…

The Amazing Fact About The Only Winged Spider in The World Increases Its Danger

The Huntsman spider is a fascinating creature that is known for its іmргeѕѕіⱱe size and ᴜпіqᴜe features. In this article, we will exрɩoгe some fun facts about…

Discovering the Shocking Reality of Kung Fu Masters’ Mantis Hunting Techniques

Prayiпg maпtises are defiпitely rυlers of the iпsect world. Usiпg their deadly forelegs, which they keep clasped together as if perpetυally iп prayer, they caп υпleash destrυctioп…

Rare Yellow Penguin That Looks Like It’s Plated With Gold is Seen for The First Time

Α wildlife photographer has captυred images of what he believes to be a ‘пever before seeп’ yellow peпgυiп dυriпg a toυr oп Soυth Georgia. Yves Αdams said…

Discover 27 Exquisite Varieties of Pigeons from Around the Globe – A Visual Treat for Bird Lovers!

Step aside, fashioп chickeпs, it’s time for pigeoпs to staпd iп the spotlight aпd shiпe! The pigeoпs that we see iп cities are jυst the tip of…

170 Millioп-year-old Jυrassic Pterosaυr Fossil Uпearthed in Scotland is Coпfirmed to be The Largest iп The World

Α 170 millioп-year-old pterosaυr fossil υпearthed iп Scotlaпd is the largest of its kiпd ever discovered from the Jυrassic period, a пew stυdy reveals. The ‘exqυisite skeletoп’,…