Researchers Discovered a Fossil of Wallaby-Sized Dinosaur in Australia

A new, wallaby-sized dinosaur that fed on plants, has been spotted in the fossils of 125-million-year old rock. The ancient rocks belong to the Cretaceous period of Victoria, southeastern Australia. Researchers found five fossilized jaws which are about the size of present-day wallaby. They belong to the category which includes kangaroos. As per the study published in the Journal of Paleontology, researchers named the new dinosaur as Galleonosaurus dorisae. It is called, for two things. Firstly, the shape of its jaw, which looks like the hull of a galleon ship. Secondly, for paleontologist Doris Seegets-Villiers, who has studied fossils in the region.

The study pinpoint that Galleonosaurus belonged to a large group of herbivores known as ornithischian or bird-hipped dinosaurs. In short, the Galleonosaurus was a small creature that belonged to an ornithopod family. But the creature moved very quickly. Mathew Herne, leading author of the study, says these small dinosaurs would be active and fast runners at that time. Galleonosaurus would have used their powerful back legs to run fast. According to Herne, there were many species of small bird-hipped dinosaurs surviving on the area of lands around lakes and large rivers in the region. It seems like Galleonosaurus may be closely related to probably four to five other species that have some similarities. But they differ in the analysis of teeth and jaws.

The small creatures were buried in volcanic residues, once belonged to a network of deep, swift rivers. Herne and his team used 3D micro-CT scanning method to study a tooth, and five jawbones of various sizes. Dr. Herne says the technique enables them to look inside the actual jaw, and examine the structures internally. Depending upon various sizes of the jaws, the team revealed that the dinosaurs belonged to different age groups. Herne and his team also discovered fossils of another small ornithopod, Diluvicursor Pickering, in 2018.

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