Science & Technology

“Largest Meat-Eating Predatory Dinosaur” of Triassic Period, Actually a Timid Vegetarian

Life reconstruction of herbivorous dinosaurs based mostly on 220-million-year-old fossil footprints from Ipswich, Queensland, Australia. Credit score: Anthony Romilio

“Raptor-like” dinosaur found in an Australian mine, really uncovered as a timid vegetarian.

50-year-old findings of the Triassic interval’s “largest meat-eating dinosaur” reanalyzed because the long-necked herbivore Prosauropod.

Fossil footprints present in an Australian coal mine round 50 years in the past have lengthy been considered that of a giant ‘raptor-like’ predatory dinosaur, however scientists have the truth is found they had been as an alternative left by a timid long-necked herbivore.

College of Queensland paleontologist Dr. Anthony Romilio lately led a global group to re-analyze the footprints, dated to the latter half of the Triassic Interval, round 220 million-year-ago.

“For years it’s been believed that these tracks had been made by a large theropod predator that was half of the dinosaur household Eubrontes, with legs over two meters tall,” Dr. Romilio mentioned.

“This concept triggered a sensation a long time in the past as a result of no different meat-eating dinosaur on the planet approached that measurement through the Triassic interval.”

Nevertheless, findings made by a group of worldwide researchers, printed as we speak within the peer-reviewed journal Historic Biology, the truth is reveals the tracks had been as an alternative made by a dinosaur often called a Prosauropod  a vegetarian dinosaur that was smaller, with legs about 1.4 meters tall and a physique size of six meters.

The analysis group suspected there was one thing not fairly proper with the unique measurement estimates and there was a good purpose for his or her doubts.

“Sadly, most earlier researchers couldn’t straight entry the footprint specimen for his or her examine, as an alternative counting on previous drawings and pictures that lacked element,” Dr. Romilio mentioned.

The dinosaur fossils had been found greater than half a century in the past round 200 meters deep underground at an Ipswich coal mine, simply west of Brisbane.

“It should have been fairly a sight for the primary miners within the Nineteen Sixties to see massive bird-like footprints jutting down from the ceiling,” Dr. Romilio mentioned.

Hendrik Klein, co-author and fossil professional from Saurierwelt Paläontologisches Museum in Germany, mentioned the footprints – known as ‘Evazoum’, scientifically, the footprint kind made by prosauropod dinosaurs – had been made on the water-sodden layers of historical plant particles with the tracks later in-filled by silt and sand.

“This explains why as we speak they happen in an upside-down place proper above our heads,” Mr. Klein mentioned.

“After hundreds of thousands of years, the plant materials changed into coal which was extracted by the miners to disclose a ceiling of siltstone and sandstone, full with the pure casts of dinosaur footprints.”

The mine has lengthy since closed, however luckily, in 1964, geologists and the Queensland Museum mapped the trackway and made plaster casts, now utilized in present analysis.

“We made a digital 3D mannequin of the dinosaur footprint that was emailed to group members internationally to review,” Mr. Klein mentioned.

“The extra we seemed on the footprint and toe impression shapes and proportions, the much less they resembled tracks made by predatory dinosaurs – this monster dinosaur was undoubtedly a a lot friendlier plant-eater.

“That is nonetheless a vital discovery even when it isn’t a scary Triassic carnivore.

“That is the earliest proof we now have for this kind of dinosaur in Australia, marking a 50-million-year hole earlier than the primary quadrupedal sauropod fossils recognized.”

The dinosaur footprint is on show on the Queensland Museum, Brisbane.

The 3D mannequin of the dinosaur footprint will be considered from MorphoSource.

Reference: “Saurischian dinosaur tracks from the Higher Triassic of southern Queensland: potential proof for Australia’s earliest sauropodomorph trackmaker” by Anthony Romilio, Hendrik Klein, Andréas Jannel and Steven W. Salisbury, 16 October 2021, Historic Biology.
DOI: 10.1080/08912963.2021.1984447

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