A “really unusual” discovery of dinosaur teeth in outback Queensland has changed what researchers know about how a 20-tonne titanosaur would have smiled.
- New research on 17 Diamantinasaurus teeth has changed how experts thought they lived
- The sauropod’s teeth were unearthed on a dig near Winton, in outback Queensland
- More teeth have since been discovered in the area
New research on 17 curved teeth that were unearthed at a dig site near Winton in 2019 has shed light on sauropod Diamantinasaurus matilda’s role in its prehistoric ecosystem.
Australian Age of Dinosaurs museum research associate Stephen Poropat said previous descriptions of the Diamantinasaurus’ skull were modelled in part from a comparable titanosaur from Brazil.
“We’ve found dozens of sauropod skeletons in Winton over the past two decades, and this was the first one that preserved a lot of teeth which is really unusual,” Dr. Poropat said.
“They are between 98 and 95 million years old, we haven’t got an exact date on them yet, but that’s the boundary that we’re working with at the moment.”
He said the teeth showed the dinosaur was probably feeding at least one metre above the ground, not really ingesting much soil or grit, and probably up to 10m above the ground.
“Imagine a three-storey building,” he said.
Digging up more
There is still much to learn about Diamantinasaurus matildae, which is in the running to become Queensland’s state fossil emblem.
Australian Age of Dinosaurs executive chairman David Elliott said almost two dozen of the titanosaur’s teeth had been found.
“We’ve got enough there, and enough bones from the site, that we can start to fit those teeth to the animal that owns the bones,” Mr Elliott said.
“That’s really exciting, because up until now we really haven’t had much of an idea what the Diamantinasaurus’ skull or shape of the face really looks like.”
Source: ABC News