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 The Dinosaurs of Australia

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PostSubject: The Dinosaurs of Australia   The Dinosaurs of Australia Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2010 2:16 pm

Some dinasours and other anchient reptiles have been found in Australia so here are a the ones discovered.
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PostSubject: Re: The Dinosaurs of Australia   The Dinosaurs of Australia Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2010 2:17 pm

Atlascopcosaurus

The Dinosaurs of Australia Atlasc10

Atlascopcosaurus (meaning "Atlas Copco lizard") is the name given to a genus of hypsilophodont dinosaur. It lived in what is now Australia; the type specimen, Atlascopcosaurus loadsi, was found at Dinosaur Cove in Victoria. It was about 2–3 metres (6.5–10 ft) long and weighed roughly 125 kg. It lived during the early Cretaceous (Aptian-Albian), but not much else is known about it; the genus is based on a mostly incomplete skeleton (the holotype consists of a piece of maxilla and teeth).

It was named after the Atlas Copco Company who had provided equipment for the expeditions that discovered this dinosaur in 1984. The project revealed 85 fossil bone fragments. This opened the door for more excavation and, along with other companies, Atlas Copco helped excavate about 60 metres of tunnel over 10 years.

The species name, loadsi, refers to William Loads, the state manager for Atlas Copco at the time, who assisted during the dig.
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PostSubject: Re: The Dinosaurs of Australia   The Dinosaurs of Australia Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2010 2:20 pm

Australovenator

The Dinosaurs of Australia Austra10

Australovenator (meaning "southern hunter") is a genus of allosauroid theropod dinosaur from late Albian (Early Cretaceous)-age rocks of Australia. It is known from partial cranial and postcranial remains.

[edit] Description and history

Australovenator is based on AODL 604 (affectionately named "Banjo") a partial skeleton including a left dentary, teeth, partial forelimbs and hindlimbs, a partial right ilium, ribs, and gastralia. Australovenator was described in 2009 by Scott Hocknull and colleagues. The type species is A. wintonensis, in reference to nearby Winton. A phylogenetic analysis found Australovenator to be an allosauroid carnosaurian, with similarities to Fukuiraptor and carcharodontosaurids. In the initial analysis, it was shown to be the sister taxon of the Carcharodontosauridae.[1] More detailed studies found that it formed a clade with several other carcharodontosaurid-like allosaurs, the Neovenatoridae.[2]

The ankles of Australovenator and Fukuiraptor are similar to the Australian talus bone known as NMVP 150070 that had previously been identified as belonging to Allosaurus sp., and it is likely that this bone represents Australovenator or a close relative of it.[3][1]

[edit] Paleobiology
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PostSubject: Re: The Dinosaurs of Australia   The Dinosaurs of Australia Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2010 2:21 pm

Austrosaurus


Austrosaurus (meaning "Southern lizard") was a sauropod( or long necked) dinosaur from the Winton Formation, from the early Cretaceous (98-95 Million Years ago) of Central-Western Queensland in Australia.
Discovery and species

The remains were discovered by Mr. H.B. Wade on Clutha Station near Maxwelton in north Queensland in 1932, who alerted the station manager H. Mackillop, who showed his brother who sent them to the Queensland Museum. Austrosaurus was described by Heber Longman in 1933.

Austrosaurus Species

A. mackillopi
A. sp. ("Elliot")
In 1999 on a property near Winton in central-western Queensland, Australia, grazier Dave Elliott found a sauropod femur belonging to what turned out to be the largest dinosaur discovered in Australia to that date, which was nicknamed 'Elliot'. At the Winton find, a right femur and portions of several ribs have so far been uncovered. A smaller sauropod, nicknamed 'Mary', after Dr Mary Wade, has also been uncovered. Early indications are that they are closely related to Austrosaurus mackillopi and either in the same or closely related genus.

On 3 May 2007, bones from the remains of two huge titanosaurs which were uncovered in 2004 near Eromanga in south-west Queensland went on display at the Queensland Museum, in Brisbane. This find was described by the ABC news service [1] as the largest bones now discovered to date in Australia, eclipsing 'Elliot'.

[edit] Paleobiology
Originally it was thought that sauropods spent time near or in water to relieve weight from their legs.[1] However, this theory is now rejected and it is believed that Austrosaurus like all sauropods lived on dry land. Fossil finds suggest a height of approximately 3.9 metres at the hip and 4.1 metres at the shoulder, which would have given it an almost level back.

[edit] Classification
Initially, Austrosaurus was considered a cetiosaurid, like Patagosaurus or Shunosaurus. However, a recent reappraisal of material by Ralph Molnar has found that it, and the newer remains of 'Eliot', are titanosaurid, as various features on the vertebrae show.
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PostSubject: Re: The Dinosaurs of Australia   The Dinosaurs of Australia Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2010 2:22 pm

Alamitophis

Alamitophis is a genus of fossil snake in the extinct family of Madtsoiidae. Its length is 80 cm and it fed on frogs, lizards, and small mammals. It is found in Australia and Argentina
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PostSubject: Re: The Dinosaurs of Australia   The Dinosaurs of Australia Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2010 2:23 pm

Bluff Downs Giant Python

The Bluff Downs Giant Python (Liasis sp.) is an extinct genus of snake from Queensland, Australia, that lived during the Pliocene.

The Bluff Downs Giant Python hunted mammals, birds and reptiles in the woodlands and vine thickets bordering Australian watercourses during Pliocene times. Its nearest living relative is the Olive Python (Liasis olivacea).

[edit] Size
The Bluff Downs Giant Python is estimated to have grown to 10m, making it at least a metre longer than the world's two longest snakes - the Anaconda of South America and the Reticulated Python of Asia.

[edit] Fossils
Fossilised backbones, teeth and rib fragments of the Bluff Downs Python were found in 1992 at Bluff Downs in north-eastern Queensland.
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PostSubject: Re: The Dinosaurs of Australia   The Dinosaurs of Australia Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2010 2:24 pm

Cimoliasaurus

The Dinosaurs of Australia Cimoli10

Cimoliasaurus was a plesiosaur that lived in the Early Cretaceous to the Late Cretaceous (Aptian to the Maastrichtian) in New Jersey, New Zealand, England, and France. It grew from 13 to 25 ft long.
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PostSubject: Re: The Dinosaurs of Australia   The Dinosaurs of Australia Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2010 2:26 pm

Diamantinasaurus

Diamantinasaurus (meaning "Diamantina River lizard") is a genus of derived titanosaurian dinosaur or long necked from late Albian (Early Cretaceous)-age rocks of Australia. It is known from partial postcranial remains.

[edit] Description and history

this reptile is based on AODL 603, a partial skeleton including a right shoulder blade, a sternal plate, much of the forelimbs, much of the hindlimbs except the feet, partial hips, and ribs. Diamantinasaurus was unusual for a derived titanosaurian in retaining a thumb claw. The limb bones were stout. Diamantinasaurus was described in 2009 by Scott Hocknull and colleagues. The type species is D. matildae, in reference to the folk song "Waltzing Matilda", which was written by Banjo Paterson in nearby Winton. A phylogenetic analysis found Diamantinasaurus to be a lithostrotian titanosaurian sauropod, in the same clade as sauropods such as Opisthocoelicaudia and Saltasaurus.[1] The discovery has been nicknamed "Matilda" after "Waltzing Matilda", and is described as a stocky herbivore about 52 feet (16 m) in length.[2][3]

Many titanosaurids are known to have had small armor plates, however, it is not known whether Diamantinasaurus had them.


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PostSubject: Re: The Dinosaurs of Australia   The Dinosaurs of Australia Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2010 2:27 pm

Kakuru

The Dinosaurs of Australia Kakuru10

Kakuru (named for a Rainbow Serpent of Australian Aboriginal mythology) is a genus of theropod dinosaur from the early Cretaceous Period. It is believed to have been carnivorous, was bipedal and about 2.4 meters in length. It is known primarily from a single fossilized tibia, which, unusually, had been fossilized through a rare process in which the bone turned to opal. The opalized tibia was purchased by a gem shop in 1973 along with a foot claw that might have come from the same animal. Remains have been found in Andamooka, South Australia. This small dinosaur seems to have had long, slender legs, and its ankle was higher and narrower than that of most other theropods. Kakuru was formally named in 1980.
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PostSubject: Re: The Dinosaurs of Australia   The Dinosaurs of Australia Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2010 2:29 pm

Fulgurotherium ( meaning "Lightning Beast")is the name given to a genus of dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous. It lived in what is now Australia. It was a hypsilophodont, a primitive ornithopod or duckbilled dinosaurs. The type species, Fulgurotherium australe, was formalized by Huene in 1932, but the animal may be a chimera based on multiple species of ornithopods.
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PostSubject: Re: The Dinosaurs of Australia   The Dinosaurs of Australia Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2010 2:31 pm

Isisfordia

The Dinosaurs of Australia Isisfo10

Isisfordia (named after the discoverer; former Deputy Mayor of Isisford, Ian Duncan)[1] (holotype QM F36211) is an extinct genus of crocodyliform closely related to crocodilians that lived during the Middle Cretaceous (Albian–Cenomanian). Its fossils were discovered in the Winton Formation in Isisford, Queensland, Australia in the mid 1990s.[1] [2] Most of the animal was discovered, with the exception of the front portion of the skull. On a later expedition to the location, paleontologists discovered a complete skull which differed from the original specimen in size only. [2]

[edit] Relation to modern day crocodilians
The discovery of the fossilized remains led paleontologists to suggest that the group including modern crocodilians first evolved 30 million years earlier than previously thought, during the Cretaceous period on the supercontinent Gondwana.[2] Analysis of the remains concluded that the vertebrae fit together as they do in modern crocodilians, via loose ball-and-socket joints, as well as a secondary palate similar to that in living crocodilians which allows them to let air pass into the lungs without entering the inside of the mouth.[2]
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PostSubject: Re: The Dinosaurs of Australia   The Dinosaurs of Australia Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2010 2:32 pm

Leaellynasaura

The Dinosaurs of Australia Leaell10

Leaellynasaura was a small herbivorous ornithopod dinosaur of about 60-90 cm in length from the Albian stage of the Early Cretaceous, first discovered in Dinosaur Cove, Australia. It was an Australian polar dinosaur. At this period in time, Victoria would have been within the Antarctic Circle. Although this latitude is very cold today, it was less frigid in the mid-Cretaceous. However, because of the Earth's tilt, Leaellynasaura and its contemporaries would still have been living under conditions with extended periods of daylight and night. Depending on latitude, it is possible that the sun might not have risen for several weeks or months in the winter, which means that Leaellynasaura would have had to live in the dark for perhaps months at a time. This is particularly relevant to the fact that a skull fragment interpreted as being from Leaellynasaura shows enlarged eyes and the suggestion of proportionally large optic lobes, as if it had evolved to be routinely active in low-light conditions.

No complete skeletons have been found of Leaellynasaura. The genus is known from many isolated limb bones, ribs, vertebrae, jaws, teeth and one partial skull.

[edit] Etymology
The type species is Leaellynasaura amicagraphica. It was described in 1989. It was named after Leaellyn Rich, the daughter of the palaeontologist couple Tom Rich and Patricia Vickers-Rich who discovered it. Leaellynasaura was a hypsilophodont, a rather basal ornithopod. Like all ornithopods, it was a herbivore.
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PostSubject: Re: The Dinosaurs of Australia   The Dinosaurs of Australia Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2010 2:34 pm

Kalisuchus

The Dinosaurs of Australia Kalisu10

Kalisuchus ('Kali's crocodile from the Rewan')[1] was an archosaur of the family Proterosuchidae, known from remains unearthed from the Arcadia Formation (Rewan Group) of the Early Triassic of the Crater, Southwest of Rolleston, south central Queensland, Australia. It was named after Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction, a reference to the fact that the remains, including skull, vertebrae, limb and girdle were found as small fragments. The type species of Kalisuchus is K. rewanensis. Kalisuchus is the oldest archosaur known in Australia. It and Tasmaniosaurus, another proterosuchid, are the only (with the unlikely exception of Agrosaurus) archosaurs known from the Triassic of Australia. Its body length is estimated at about 3 metres. The ankle bones are strikingly similar to those of a crocodile, and it is surmised that like other proterosuchids, it lived an amphibious and predatory life. It had a broad snout which curved slightly over the lower jaw. Its limbs were slender, and its neck was longer than is typical in a proterosuchid. Thulborn (1979) believes it to be closely related to the Chinese and African proterosuchid Chasmatosaurus.[1]
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PostSubject: Re: The Dinosaurs of Australia   The Dinosaurs of Australia Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2010 2:36 pm

Minmi

The Dinosaurs of Australia Minmi10

Minmi, named after Minmi Crossing, Australia (where it was found), is a genus of small ankylosaurian dinosaur that lived during the early Cretaceous Period, about 119 to 113 million years ago. The type species, M. paravertebra, was described by Ralph Molnar in 1980.

Previously holding the record for the shortest dinosaur genus name, the title now goes to Mei, a carnivore from China that was named in 2004. Two good specimens of Minmi have been described, including a mostly complete skeleton, and additional fragments may pertain to this genus.

Minmi was found near the Minmi Crossing, in the Bungil Formation, near Roma, Queensland, Australia. It was first described in 1980 by Ralph E. Molnar, also who named the type (and only known) species.

[edit] Description
Minmi had four long (for an ankylosaurian) legs, with hind legs that were larger than front legs, a short neck and a wide skull with a very small brain. The dinosaur grew to about 2 m (6.6 ft) long[1] and was roughly 1 m (3 ft) tall to the top of the shoulder. Minmi probably moved relatively slowly on four legs, as determined by scientists from fossilised tracks, its estimated mass and its leg length.

[edit] Paleobiology
Minmi was a small armoured dinosaur, classified in Ankylosauria (too primitive to be included in either the Ankylosauridae or Nodosauridae), that was quadrupedal and had a long tail. As with other ankylosaurians, Minmi was herbivorous. Unlike most herbivorous dinosaurs, there is direct evidence of the diet of Minmi: gut contents are known from the well-preserved nearly complete Minmi sp. specimen, found in the abdominal cavity in front of the left ilium. The gut contents consist of fragments of fibrous or vascular plant tissue, fruiting bodies, spherical seeds, and vesicular tissue (possibly from fern sporangia). The most common remains are the fibrous or vascular fragments, which are typically rather uniform in size at 0.6 to 2.7 millimetres (0.02 to 0.11 in) long and have clean cuts at their ends, perpendicular to a given fragment's long axis. Because of the small size of the fragments, they have been interpreted as having been nibbled from plants or chopped in the mouth, evidence of some method of retaining food in the mouth. These small fragments may have come from twigs or stems, but their size is more suggestive of vascular bundles in leaves. The clean cuts and lack of gastroliths suggest that the animal relied on oral processing instead of gastroliths or grit to grind food. The seeds (0.3 mm [0.01 in] across) and fruiting bodies (4.5 mm [0.18 in] across) were apparently swallowed whole. Comparison to gut contents and scat from modern herbivorous lizard, emu, and goose indicates that this Minmi individual had a more sophisticated process for cutting up plant material.[2]

It had bony protrusions, also known as body armour, on its head, back, abdomen, legs and along the tail. Several types of armour are known in place in Minmi sp., including small ossicles, small keeled scutes on the body, large scutes without keels on the snout, large keeled scutes on the neck, shoulders, and possibly tail, spike-like scutes on the hips, and a combination of ridged and keeled scutes and triangular plates on the tail. There was one preserved ring of scutes around the neck. The arrangement of armour is unclear on the tail, although the triangular plates may have ran on the sides of the tail, with long scutes forming a row along the top of the tail.[3] However, unlike other ankylosaurians, Minmi had horizontal plates of bones that ran along the sides of its vertebrae (hence its species name, M. paravertebra).
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PostSubject: Re: The Dinosaurs of Australia   The Dinosaurs of Australia Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2010 2:38 pm

Muttaburrasaurus

The Dinosaurs of Australia Muttab10

The species was initially described from a partial skeleton found by Doug Langdon in 1963 at Rosebury Downs Station beside Thompson River near Muttaburra, Queensland, Australia, which also provides the creature's name. It was named in 1981 by Dr Alan Bartholomai and Ralph Molnar,[2] who honoured its discoverer with its specific name langdoni. Some teeth have been discovered further north, near Hughenden,[3] and south at Lightning Ridge,[3] in northwestern New South Wales. At Lightning Ridge there have been found opalised teeth and a scapula that may be from a Muttaburrasaurus. A skull, known as the "Dunluce Skull", was discovered by John Stewart-Moore and 14 year old Robert Walker on Dunluce Station, between Hughenden and Richmond in 1987.[3] There have also been isolated teeth and bones found at Iona Station southeast of Hughenden.

[edit] [edit] Paleobiology

Muttaburrasaurus was capable of either bipedal or quadrupedal movement. The three middle digits of the forelimb were joined together into a hoof-like pad for walking on.

It had very powerful jaws equipped with shearing teeth. These were probably an adaptation for eating tough vegetation such as cycads. It also had an enlarged, hollow, upward-bulging muzzle that might have been used to produce distinctive calls or for display purposes. However, as no fossilised nasal tissue has been found, this remains conjectural.

Muttaburrasaurus was about 7 to 9 meters long and its mass was between 1 and 4 tons. It also had a spiked thumb, which was about 15 cm long
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PostSubject: Re: The Dinosaurs of Australia   The Dinosaurs of Australia Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2010 2:41 pm

Megalania

The Dinosaurs of Australia Megala10

egalania ("great roamer"; Greek Μέγας "great" + ἀλαίνω "roam") is a giant extinct goanna or monitor lizard. It was part of a megafaunal assemblage that inhabited southern Australia during the Pleistocene, and appears to have disappeared around 40,000 years ago.[citation needed] The first aboriginal settlers of Australia may have encountered living Megalania

Taxonomy
[edit] Naming confusion
The name Megalania prisca was coined by Sir Richard Owen to mean "Ancient Great Roamer"; the name was intended to "reference to the terrestrial nature of the great Saurian".[1] Owen used a modification of the Greek word ἠλαίνω ēlainō ("I roam"). The close similarity to the Latin word: lania (feminine form of "butcher") has resulted in numerous taxonomic and popular descriptions of Megalania mistranslating the name as: Ancient Giant Butcher.

[edit] Megalania vs. Varanus
Megalania prisca was originally classified in its own monotypic genus. Its status as a valid genus remains controversial, with many authors preferring to consider it a junior synonym of Varanus,[3] which encompasses all living monitor lizards. As the gender of the genera Megalania and Varanus are different (feminine and masculine, respectively), the epithet prisca changes to priscus (in alignment with the Code of the ICZN).[4]

[edit] Phylogeny
Several studies have attempted to establish the phylogenetic position of Megalania within the Varanidae. An affinity with the Perentie, Australia's largest living lizard, has been suggested based on skull-roof morphology.[5] The most recent comprehensive study[6] proposes a sister-taxon relationship with the Komodo dragon based on neurocranial similarities, with the Lace monitor as the closest living Australian relative. Conversely, the Perentie is considered more closely related to the Gould's and Argus monitors.

[edit] Size

Megalania skull, about 74 cm (29 in) long, at Museum of Science, BostonThe lack of complete, or nearly complete fossil skeletons has made it difficult to determine the exact dimensions of Megalania.[3] Early estimates placed the length of the largest individuals at 7 metres (23 ft), with a maximum weight of approximately 600–620 kilograms (1,300–1,400 lb).[7] However, more recent and more rigorous studies give very different results from one another.

In 2002, Stephen Wroe determined that Megalania had a maximum length of 4.5 metres (15 ft) and a weight of 331 kilograms (730 lb)[8], while its average length would have been around 3.5 metres (11 ft), and mean body weight would have been between 97–158 kilograms (210–350 lb).[8][9] He concluded[8] that the earlier estimates reaching lengths of 6 metres (20 ft) or more and a weight of several tons[10][11] were exaggerations based upon flawed methodologies.

However, Ralph Molnar[3] in 2004 determined a range of potential sizes for Megalania (made by scaling up from dorsal vertebrae, after he determined a relationship between dorsal vertebrae length and total body length). If it had a long thin tail like the Lace monitor (Varanus varius), then it would have reached a length of 7.9 metres (26 ft), while if its tail-to-body proportions were more similar to that of the Komodo dragon, then a length of around 7 metres (23 ft) is more likely. Taking the maximal 7 m length, he estimated a weight of 1,940 kilograms (4,300 lb), with a leaner 320 kilograms (710 lb) being average


Palaeobiology

RestorationMegalania is the largest terrestrial lizard known to have existed. Judging from its size, Megalania would have fed mostly upon medium to large sized animals, including any of the giant marsupials like Diprotodon along with other reptiles, small mammals, and birds and their eggs and chicks[citation needed]. It had heavily built limbs and body and a large skull complete with a small crest in between the eyes, and a jaw full of serrated blade-like teeth.[4]

Wroe et al. (1999)[12] regard the contention that Megalania was the only, or even principal, predator of the Australian Pleistocene megafauna with skepticism. They note that the "marsupial lion" (Thylacoleo carnifex) has been implicated with the butchery of very large Pleistocene mammals, while Megalania has not. In addition, they note that fossils of Megalania are extremely uncommon, in contrast to Thylacoleo carnifex with its wide distribution across Australian Pleistocene deposits.

The Australian biologist Tim Flannery suggested that if one wanted to reconstruct the ecosystems that existed before the arrival of the humans on Australia, it may be desirable to introduce Komodo dragons as a replacement for Megalania.[13]

[edit] Venom
Studies have shown that other members of the genus Varanus, such as the Komodo dragon and Lace monitor, possess venom glands along their jawline.[14] It has been suggested that other varanids, including Megalania, are likely to also have possessed similar glands.[15] If this were true it would make Megalania the largest venomous vertebrate known to have existed.
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PostSubject: Re: The Dinosaurs of Australia   The Dinosaurs of Australia Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2010 2:43 pm

Meiolania

The Dinosaurs of Australia Meiola10

Meiolania ("Small roamer") is an extinct genus of cryptodire turtle from the Oligocene to Holocene, with the last relic populations at New Caledonia which survived until 2,000 years ago.

The animal was rather large, measuring 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) in length, making it the largest known nonmarine turtle or tortoise. It lived in Australia and New Caledonia and fed on plants. Its surviving relatives are the cryptodire turtles of South America. The Meiolania specimens which were once living on New Caledonia and Lord Howe Island were much smaller than their giant relatives from the Australian continent.

When the first fossil remains (a vertebra) were found, they were originally thought to be from a large monitor lizard, similar to, but smaller than Megalania, so the genus was named accordingly. Later, when more remains were found, it was realized that the "small roamer" was actually a turtle, and not a lizard. Synonyms include Miolania and Ceratochelys.


Meiolania had an unusually shaped skull that sported many knob-like and horn-like protrusions. Two large horns faced sideways, giving the skull a total width of 60 centimetres (2.0 ft), and would have prevented the animal fully withdrawing its head into its shell. The tail was protected by armored 'rings' and sported thorn-like spikes at the end.[1] The body form of Meiolania may be viewed as having converged towards those of dinosaurian ankylosaurids and xenarthran glyptodonts.
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PostSubject: Re: The Dinosaurs of Australia   The Dinosaurs of Australia Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2010 2:44 pm

Mythunga

Mythunga is a genus of pterodactyloid pterosaur from the late Early Cretaceous of Australia. It is known from a partial skull found in marine rocks of the Albian-age Toolebuc Formation near Hughenden, Queensland. Only the snout and part of the jaws are known. The teeth in the lower jaw were relatively tall (half the depth of the supporting bone), and the teeth toward the rear of the known material were widely spaced. The snout apparently was hollow, with a supporting internal boxwork of bone. Mythunga was described by Ralph Molnar and R. A. Thulborn in 2008, and provisionally thought to be related to plesiomorphic, and thus possibly basal, pterodactyloids. The type species is M. camara
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PostSubject: Re: The Dinosaurs of Australia   The Dinosaurs of Australia Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2010 2:44 pm

Opallionectes

Opallionectes andamookaensis (meaning the "the opal swimmer from Andamooka") is the name given to a 5 m (16 ft) long plesiosaur, which is thought to have lived during the early Cretaceous period (Lower middle Aptian), 115 million years ago, in shallow seas covering what is now Australia.

An opalized partial skeleton (including vertebrae, ribs, limb elements, teeth, and associated gastroliths) of the animal has been discovered in an opal mine at Andamooka in South Australia and described by Kear in 2006. It had fine needle like sharp teeth similar to those of nothosaurs and were probably used to trap small prey such as fish and squids. It is considered a sort of missing link between the much older plesiosaurs, living 165 million years ago, and the ones near the end of the cretaceous, 65 million years ago, between which there had been a gap in the fossil record. Analyses of the sedimentary structures, fossils, isotope data and climatic modeling show that Opallionectes lived in a region characterized by seasonally cold (possibly freezing) conditions, suggesting that it had developed some adaptation to live in cold water, such as seasonal migration or elevated metabolism.
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PostSubject: Re: The Dinosaurs of Australia   The Dinosaurs of Australia Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2010 2:46 pm

Platypterygius

Platypterygius ('Flat wing (flipper)', von Huene 1922) was an ichthyosaur of the family Ophthalmosauridae. It is most closely related to the genera Caypullisaurus and Brachypterygius.[1

Discovery and species
Fossils are known from Australia, Russia, United States of America, Western Europe and possibly New Zealand. There are six named species. Both adults and juveniles have been unearthed, including newborns and pregnant females. Like other ichthyosaurs, Platypterygius gave live birth.

The remains from Australia were originally called Ichthyosaurus australis. They are from the Toolebuc Formation and Allaru Mudstone (Albian, Lower Cretaceous) of Flinders River and other localities in north central Queensland. In 1990 Wade erected the species name P. longmani to include all remains previously referred to I.australis .

[edit] Palaeobiology

Platypterygius reached a length of about 7 meters. It had a long snout and a powerful finned tail. There are more digits in the front flippers than is usual in ichthyosaurs; they are tightly bound in rows, giving a broad, flat appearance[citation needed]. This unusual characteristic gives the genus its name, meaning 'flat wing.' Furthermore, some of the wrist bones have disappeared entirely[citation needed]. CAT scans on a juvenile specimen strongly suggest that Platypterygius was deaf[citation needed].
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PostSubject: Re: The Dinosaurs of Australia   The Dinosaurs of Australia Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2010 2:47 pm

Wonambi

Wonambi is a genus currently consisting of two species of very large snakes. These species are not pythons, like Australia's other large constrictors of the genus Morelia, but a member of a now extinct family Madtsoiidae. This genus was a part of the extinct megafauna of Australia.

Diversity
The type species is Wonambi naracoortensis, a five to six metre long snake; the only other known species is Wonambi barriei.[1]

[edit] Description
Wonambi seems to have been an ambush predator. Rather than using venom, the animal would kill its prey by constriction. The head of the animal was small, restricting the size of its prey
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