Austrosaurus (Southern lizard)

Short Info

Austrosaurus (Southern lizard)

Phonetic : Aw-stro-sore-us.

Named By : Heber Longman – 1933

Diet : Herbivore

Size : Estimated 15 meters long

Type of Dinosaur : Sauropod

Type Species : A. mckillopi (type)

Found in : Australia, Queensland, Winton Formation

When it Lived : Early Cretaceous, 112-99 million years ago

Austrosaurus (meaning “Southern lizard”) was an extinct genus belonging to titanosaurian sauropod dinosaurs from the Allaru Formation and Winton Formation that dates back to an early Cretaceous (112-105 millions of years ago) of Central-Western Queensland in Australia.


Austrosaurus holotype vertebra
Albert Weber Longman, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons


The holotype QM F2361 (consisting of three blocks, each containing poor quality and weathered vertebrae as well as rib fragments as well as five blocks that are large as well as at minimum 10 small ones that were later assigned to the holotype well) It came to the attention of Mr. H.B. Wade at Clutha Station near Maxwelton in north Queensland in 1932. He informed the station’s director H. Mackillop, who was able to show his brother, who later sent these to the Queensland Museum. Austrosaurus was identified in the work of Heber Longman in the year 1933. The specimen, known to be “Clancy” (QMF 7292) that was found in 1974 has been assigned to Austrosaurus sp. and two additional examples, “Elliot” (after grazier Dave Elliott) and his probable partner “Mary” (after Dr Mary Wade) They were discovered near each other in the quarry of Winton in 1999.

It was initially believed that sauropods hung out in or near water to ease the weight off their legs. But this notion has been discarded and is now believed to be that Austrosaurus as well as all sauropods walked on dry ground. Evidence from fossils suggests that it was about 3.9 meters at the hip, and 4.1 metres above the shoulder that would have given the animal a identical back. Based on Gregory S. Paul, the length was 20 metres and weighed around 16 000 kilograms.

In the beginning, Austrosaurus was considered a cetiosaurid, similar to Patagosaurus as well as Shunosaurus. Hocknull et al. (2009) presented the latest sauropod Wintonotitan from the material was initially was assigned to Austrosaurus by Molnar and Coombs in 1981. Hocknull proposed that Austrosaurus Mckillopi was only slightly different from QMF 7292, which is the Wintonotitan wattsii holotype, and that it should be considered as a nomen dubium. Recently, Poropat et al. (2017) published additional sauropod material found in the Austrosaurus type location and put them in the Austrosaurus Holotype, and found the Genus to be a viable titanosauriform that is tentatively assigned to Somphospondyli.

Source: Wikipedia