Australia’s newest dinosaur: Kunbarrasaurus

Imagine being mistakenly identified for 25 years.

That’s precisely what has happened to the newly identified Kunbarrasaurus (koon-ba-rah-sore-rus) who was discovered in 1989, near Richmond in north-western Queensland. Previously identified as Minmi, another ankylosaur species found in Queensland, it wasn’t until recently that scientists were able to study the fossils in-depth, literally, by using CT scanning.

A peer-reviewed paper from The University of Queensland scientists published yesterday revealed that it is actually an entirely new kind of ankylosaur! UQ PhD student and co-author on the paper Lucy Leahey said the fossil represented the most complete dinosaur so far discovered in Australia and one of the best-preserved ankylosaur fossils in the world.

The CT recontruction and analysis of the armoured dinosaur’s head revealed an entirely different structure of the skull, brain and airway structure. This was enough to separate Kunbarrasaurus as it’s own species.

Check out the very cool CT visualisation below, which allows you to view the skull from all angles!

Our very own director/in-house palaeontologist is equally thrilled about this discovery.

“It doesn’t get any cooler than this! You can mess with the mind of a 98 million year old dinosaur! What’s more I helped dig this one up 25 years ago in North Queensland so I do feel a special attachment to this beast. Big congratulations to Lucy, Ralph, Steve and the rest of the crew on some seriously wonderful science!”

Australian ankylosaur dinosaur skull & endocast by WitmerLab at Ohio University on Sketchfab

The skull can also be viewed in this video — complete with anatomical labels.

Better yet, you can visit him at the Queensland Museum & Sciencentre in their Lost Creatures exhibition!

Feature image from Australian Geographic.


Originally published on The Royal Institution of Australia: http://riaus.org.au/articles/australias-newest-dinosaur-kunbarrasaurus/