Dinosaurs Down Under
|Illustration: Lucas Fiorelli|
Outback Queensland has become the focus of an international research project helping to decipher the evolution of Australian dinosaurs and their relationships to those of other southern continents.
In a unique Australian–American project, researchers from the University and Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, are hoping recent fossil finds may put dinosaurs from Down Under on the international map. Palaeontologists, Dr Steve Salisbury, from the University, and Dr Matt Lamanna, from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, have begun excavations of rich fossil beds near the central-western Queensland town of Winton that they believe may shed new light on the evolution of southern hemisphere dinosaurs.
“During the time that most of Australia’s dinosaurs existed, there is strong evidence for animals moving between many of the landmasses that once comprised the southern supercontinent of Gondwana, of which Australia was a part,” Dr Salisbury said. According to Drs Salisbury and Lamanna, there is now an expectation some of the dinosaur groups known from places such as South America could also have representatives in Australia.
Dr Lamanna, curator of one of the largest dinosaur collections in the world, said the quantity of dinosaur bones found near Winton was “spectacular”.