World’s smallest sauropod dinosaur found in Australia

(ORDO NEWS) — Paleontologists have discovered the smallest sauropod dinosaur in Australia. He died about 95 million years ago, probably stuck in the mud at a watering hole and choked, according to ABC News.

The dinosaur was given the scientific name Diamantinasaurus matildae. Scientists have also given him the nickname “Ollie”.

Sauropod dinosaurs were large herbivorous creatures with a massive body, long neck and relatively small head. They lived on all continents of the Earth, including Antarctica. This group includes, in particular, brontosaurs and diplodocus.

Representatives of the species Diamantinasaurus matildae belonged to the titanosaurs – the largest land creatures in the history of the Earth. The size of adults could reach 20-30 meters.

As for Ollie, his body length was 11 meters, weight – 4.2 tons (about the same as a modern elephant). Some of the bones in his body didn’t heal. Paleontologists concluded that he died at an early age and did not have time to fully grow.

‘Ollie’ is the third of its kind and the first juvenile dinosaur found in Australia. His remains were identified during the analysis of fossils found by an Australian farmer in Queensland about 10 years ago. Scientists were able to find several thoracic vertebrae, ribs, shoulder blade, humerus and femur, and a claw.

The find allows a better understanding of how giant herbivores evolved. Analysis of the fossils showed that the limbs of Diamantinasaurus matildae grew faster than the bones of the back and shoulders. Scientists noted that teenage dinosaurs were noticeably different from adults in their proportions.

The researchers also said that during Ollie’s lifetime (95 million years ago), modern-day Queensland was a “mosaic” of meandering rivers, freshwater pools, swamps and coastal estuaries. Diamantinasaurus matildae probably fed on conifers, ferns, cycads and horsetails growing there.

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