Meet the man Savannasaurus Elliottorum dinosaur is named after
Remains of the Savannasaurus was uncovered by David Elliott, co-founder of the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum, in western Queensland in 2005, although initially he thought it was a carnivorous theropod dinosaur.
Meet the Savannasaurus: New dinosaur species that lived 95 million years ago may shed light on how the giant creatures arrived in Australia. Researchers discovered 17 bones embedded in rock in 2005. They have now shown that the bones belong to a new species.
The Savannasaurus was a medium-sized titanosaur, around half the length of a basketball court, with a long neck and a relatively short tail. Researchers in Australia were in for a surprise when they stumbled across the bones of a previously unknown species of dinosaur.
The 17 bones encased in rock belonged to a Savannasaurus – a species of sauropod dinosaur that roamed the Earth around 95 million years ago.
The discovery may help to shed light on how these dinosaurs arrived in Australia.
The mysterious bones were discovered in 2005 by David Elliot, co-founder of the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum in Queensland.
More than ten years later, the hard rock surrounding the 17 bones has now been removed to reveal one of the most complete sauropod dinosaur skeletons ever found in Australia, belonging to a new species.
The researchers have named the dinosaur Wade, in honour of Dr Mary Wade, a prominent Australian palaeontologist.
Dr Stephen Poropat, lead author of the study, said: ‘Before today we have only been able to refer to this dinosaur by its nickname.
‘Now that our study is published we can refer to Wade by its formal name, Savannasaurus elliottorum.
‘The name references the savannah country of western Queensland in which it was found, and honours the Elliott family for their ongoing commitment to Australian palaeontology.’
The Savannasaurus was a medium-sized titanosaur, approximately half the length of a basketball court, with a long neck and a relatively short tail.
Dr Poropat said: ‘With hips at least one metre wide and a huge barrel-like ribcage, Savannasaurus is the most rotund sauropod we have found so far.
In the same study, which is published in Scientific Reports, the researchers announced the first sauropod skull ever found in Australia.
This skull, and the partial skeleton with which it was associated, belonged to a Diamantinasaurus matildae – a sauropod dinosaur named in 2009 on the basis of its nickname, Matilda.
Dr Poropat said: ‘This new Diamantinasaurus specimen has helped to fill several gaps in our knowledge of this dinosaur’s skeletal anatomy.
‘The braincase in particular has allowed us to refine Diamantinasaurus’ position on the sauropod family tree.’
The Australian researchers collaborated with British sauropod experts from Imperial College, London and University College, London to work out the position of Savannasaurus (and refine that of Diamantinasaurus) on the sauropod family tree.
Dr Philip Mannion from Imperial College, said: ‘Both Savannasaurus and Diamantinasaurus belong to a group of sauropods called titanosaurs.
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