It took scientists 15 years to reach their verdict. The new species has been baptized with the scientific name Australotitan Cooperensis. Now also known as “Cooper” to simplify the name, it is one of the largest Australian dinosaurs and one of the largest known animals to have walked the earth’s surface.
This dinosaur belongs to the group of titanosaurs that lived almost 100 million years ago. Specimens of this group of long-necked herbivorous dinosaurs have been found on all continents.
It is estimated that the monster was between 5 and 6.5 meters in height and between 25 and 30 meters in length, making it the largest Australian dinosaur ever known.
But how big was it really? so that you can get an idea in the following image you can see Dr. Scott Hocknull next to the left front leg of the dinosaur.
“If limb size comparisons are any use, this new titanosaur is one of the five largest in the world.”said Robyn Mackenzie of the Eromanga Natural History Museum in the south-western (northeast) state of Queensland.
The dinosaur’s fossilized bones were discovered in 2006 on his family’s farm, about 1,000 km west of Brisbane, near the town of Eromanga. Its name, “Cooper”, refers to the place where it was discovered, the Cooper Basin, in the Australian outback, where the river also flows, Cooper Creek.
This discovery was initially kept secret while the researchers patiently carried out the excavation. The skeleton was first exhibited to the public in 2007.
Scott Hocknull, a paleontologist at the Museum of Queensland, has noted that it has been difficult to confirm that the Cooper was a new species: “The process was very long and tedious.”
The research, which included 3D comparisons of Cooper’s bones with those of his closest cousins, was published Monday, June 7, in the scientific journal “PeerJ.”
Many other dinosaur bones have been found in the same area, Hocknull said, adding that further excavation was necessary. “Findings like these are just the tip of the iceberg”, has pointed out.
The largest dinosaur known to date is the Patagotitan mayorum, the “Titan of Patagonia”, discovered in Argentina in 2013. Its classification as a new species then published in a 2017 article in the magazine “The Royal Society”.
The paleontologists calculated in this case that it could have weighed about 70 tons, the equivalent of about 10 African elephants, and that it came to measure about 37 meters long and eight meters high.