By Tim Binnall
Scientists have confirmed the discovery of an enormous new species of dinosaur that was unearthed in Australia and is believed to have been as long as a basketball court. The massive creature, dubbed Australotitan cooperensis or 'Cooper' for short, reportedly measured approximately 21 feet tall and was a staggering 98 feet long. Of the Titanosaurus family, the newfound species boasted a long neck and an appearance similar to iconic dinosaurs like the Brachiosaurus. Amazingly the Australotitan is among the 10 to 15 largest dinosaurs ever discovered and the biggest such creature ever to be found in Australia.
First discovered in 2007, study of the creature was somewhat hampered by virtue of just how large its bones had been. However, researchers at the Eromanga Natural History Museum and the Queensland Museum were able to use modern-day 3-D scans of the dinosaur's fossilized remains in order to eventually determine, as detailed in a paper published this week, that it was a unique new species. Based on the age of its bones, it is believed that the Australotitan roamed the land Down Under around 96 million years ago and likely weighed a staggering 160,00 pounds.
Confirmation of the Australotitan represents something of a crescendo for dinosaur research in Australia, observed Dr. Jim Thompson of the Queensland Museum, explaining that "in the early 2000s Australia was at the beginning of a dinosaur-rush,with a number of significant new species of dinosaurs and megafauna being discovered in the past 20 years." He went on to observe that "Australia is one of the last frontiers for dinosaur discovery" and suggested that additional new finds may be on the horizon. Some such species may have already been unearthed, Robyn Mackenzie of the Eromanga Natural History Museum indicated, musing that "we have many more discoveries awaiting full scientific study."