Fossils discovered in Australia revealed that 125 million years ago there were dinosaurs the size of a wallaby. Researchers found five fossilized jaws, and the dinosaur was unidentified at first. Finally, scientists named it Galleonosaurus dorisae. The creature would have been a member of the ornithopods family.
The name is based on the shape of its jaw which is similar to the hull of a galleon ship. The second part of the name is inspired by Doris Seegets Villiers, a paleontologist who used to study fossils in the same area. You can read more about these findings in the Journal of Paleontology.
“These small dinosaurs would have been agile runners on their powerful hind legs,” explained Matthew Herne, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of New England in New South Wales and lead author of the study.
More details on Galleonosaurus Dorisae, the wallaby-sized dinosaur that lived in Australia 125 million years ago
The five jaws discovered range from young to mature. In the same area, other small ornithopods were found as well. According to Herne, this discovery “confirms that on a global scale, the diversity of these small-bodied dinosaurs had been unusually high in the ancient rift valley that once extended between the spreading continents of Australia and Antarctica.”
The fossils were found buried in volcanic sediments which were carried by rivers in the past. Last year researchers discovered another small ornithopod which was named Diluvicursor pickeringi. It is believed that the volcanic deposits carried by what was once a network of rivers mixed with fallen trees and dinosaur bones.
“This land has now vanished, but as ‘time-travelers’ we get snapshots of this remarkable world via the rocks and fossils exposed along the coast of Victoria,” Herne said.
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