A nearly 100-million-year-old titanosaur skull has been discovered in Australia

Illustration by Titanosaure – Warpaint / Shutterstock.com

Few species of titanosaurs are represented by skeletons, let alone skulls. Paleontologists recently discovered the first nearly complete skull of a 100-million-year-old titanosaur. explanations.

Titanosaurian sauropods

Titanosaurus sauropods are a group of large herbivorous dinosaurs with long necks, long tails, massive bodies, and vertical limbs. These animals mostly lived in the Cretaceous period, from about 145 to 66 million years ago.

These dinosaurs were distributed all over the world. Although they are numerous, a few are represented by several skeletons, including skulls. Therefore, this type is characterized by only a few bones.

The first skull

A team of paleontologists from Curtin University recently examined this first skull of a nearly complete sauropod dinosaur from Australia. It was discovered in Queensland. Details of their study are published in the journal Royal Society for Open Science.

Diamantinasaurus matildae, which lived in Australia at the level of the current state of Queensland at the beginning of the Upper Cretaceous period, was one of these animals. This sauropod was measured It is about fifteen meters long and weighs about twenty tons, and has so far been represented by only three specimens with incomplete skeletons.

Thanks to their analyses, paleontologists have found a fourth specimen with a much more complete and well-preserved skull. They also discovered many previously unknown elements of the skull.

Titanosaurus skull
© Poropat et al., doi: 10.1098/rsos.221618

Argentine cousin

The bones of this new specimen, named Ann, were found at Eldersley Station, near Winton, in 2018. To study them, specialists conducted a CT scan of the skull about fifty centimeters long. If his right side is mostly absent, he retains most of his left side.

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The results reveal similarities with other named species Sarmientosaurus muscacchio It is sourced not from Australia, but from Argentina. Paleontologists have also found commonalities in the structure of the bones of the skull and the back of the head.

These two species are known to have lived in the same period, between 95 and 100 million years ago. If this were indeed the case, there would be a land bridge between present-day Australia and South America. This bridge connected them across Antarctica 100 million years ago.


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