An unusual “toothless” dinosaur has been identified by paleontologists in Australia.
The dinosaur, an elaphrosaur, roamed Australia 110 million years ago, according to a statement released by the Swinburne University of Technology.
A bone from the dinosaur was discovered by volunteer Jessica Parker during a dig in Victoria in early 2015. Initially thought to be from a pterosaur, the neck bone was studied by experts at Swinburne University who realized that it was from a theropod or meat-eating dinosaur. “The only catch – this ‘meat-eating dinosaur’ probably didn’t eat meat!” said Swinburne paleontologist Dr. Stephen Poropat, in the statement.
The bone matches a group of theropods called elaphrosaurs or ‘light-footed lizards.’
Artist’s impression of an elaphrosaur.
(Credit: Ruairidh Duncan.)
“Elaphrosaurs had long necks, stumpy arms with small hands, and relatively lightly built bodies,” Poropat explained. “As dinosaurs go, they were rather bizarre. The few known skulls of elaphrosaurs show that the youngsters had teeth, but that the adults lost their teeth and replaced them with a horny beak. We don’t know if this is true for the Victorian elaphrosaur yet — but we might find out if we ever discover a skull.”
A paper on the research is published in the journal Gondwana Research.
In 2017, vandals wrecked a dinosaur footprint in rock at a renowned paleontology site in Australia.
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