A new dinosaur species was discovered in Australia, where such events are rare. It gives the scientists new opportunities not only to learn about a completely new species, but also to research the dinosaur migration around the planet hundreds of million years ago.
The fossil found has wide hips and a long neck, which, along with the structure of its whole body, suggests the dinosaur was a vegetarian. Its shoulders and hoop were on the same height, it had four legs and was really huge. The animal was half a basketball court in length. The bones were hollow, which shows how the process of evolution helped these huge animals move and live normally with all their weight. The hollow areas made their bones lighter, which also made the moving easier.
The director of the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum David Elliott and his wife found the fossil by accident more than a decade ago. It took the Australian scientists and volunteers ten years to take all the bones from the ground, investigate them and fit piece to piece. Spending so much time “together” made Elliotts attached to the fossil, so they even game it a name – Wade. Recently the results of their work were eventually published in the Scientific Reports journal.
The dinosaur species were named after the Elliotts and the place it was found at – Savannasaurus elliottorum. The finding may be called a breakthrough, as almost all the dinosaur species known in Australia were presented as small pieces of bone. But now scientists think that there is a huge dinosaur world there that wasn’t found yet.
Based on the skeleton that was formed, Savannasaurus was walking around Australia 95-98 million years ago. It was about 50 feet long, 20 feet high, and had at least 40,000 pounds of weight, which may be compared to the weight of three huge elephants.
The scientists didn’t find any teeth or dung to determine what exactly it ate, but its stomach must have been enormously big. The reason is that the dinosaur was clearly a representative of sauropods, which means it ate mostly leaves, plants, grass, etc. In order to process such foods and extract all the necessary nutrients, an animal needs an extremely long gut.
Nourishing such a big body was quite an undertaking, that’s why the digestive processes may have been going on for two weeks. But it wasn’t a problem for this particular species, as they had larger pelvis that contained guts long enough to digest even the roughest food.
Their age may explain their special features, like a large pelvis. The process of evolution helps any species adapt to any certain environment, and so it did with sauropods, widening their stomachs so they could function properly.
This dinosaur species was a part of the last portion of dinosaurs that lived to the time when an asteroid hit the Earth, making them only fossils for now. The scientists decided that this species, along with others, went to Australia through South America and Antarctica, as the continents were connected at that time.