Graphic shows what Australotitan cooperensis looked like and locates where it was found.


Meet “Cooper”, Australia's largest dinosaur

By Ninian Carter

June 8, 2021 - Palaeontologists have confirmed that dinosaur fossils found in the Queensland outback in 2006 belong to a new species of giant sauropod.

Fossils of a giant dinosaur – Australotitan cooperensis – that roamed the Earth, 92-96 million years ago, have been identified as a new species of sauropod, and the largest land-dwelling species to have walked in Australia.

The bone fossils were first excavated in 2006 by teams of palaeontologists and volunteers from Queensland Museum and Eromanga Natural History Museum, who nicknamed the individual “Cooper” after the nearby freshwater river, Cooper Creek.

Scientists have spent subsequent years comparing scans of its bones to those of other sauropods, leading them to conclude that it's a new species.

The plant-eating animal lived in the Cretaceous period when Australia was attached to Antartica, forming the eastern side of the supercontinent of Gondwana.

Paleontologists believe the dinosaur reached a height of up to 6.5 metres (to the hip) and 30 metres in length, placing it in the top five largest dinosaurs ever found. It joins an elite group of titanosaurs which have previously only ever been found in South America.

PUBLISHED: 08/06/2021; STORY: Graphic News