Giant Dinosaur As Long As a Basketball Court Was Discovered in Australia

Al Jazeera STUDIO

When you’re a child and playing with dinosaur figurines, it’s hard to imagine that they were actually real, live creatures roaming the earth some millions of years ago.

And while you may have heard of T-rexes and triceratopses when you were little, there are actually many more dinosaur species that used to exist.

For example, there was the Australotitan cooperensis, which ranks among the 15 largest dinosaur specimens found throughout the world, and the largest ever in Australia. Standing at over 16 feet tall with a length of an entire basketball court, the Australotitan was nicknamed “the southern titan” for a reason.

While the Australotitan lived around 92 million to 96 million years ago, the dinosaur was only newly classified after a fossilized skeleton was discovered back in 2007 on a farm in southwest Queensland. It was estimated to be between 16 and 21 feet tall and measured up to 98 feet long. As far as characteristics, it has an elongated neck and trunk-like legs.

“Australia is one of the last frontiers for dinosaur discovery and Queensland is quickly cementing itself as the palaeo-capital of the nation – there is still plenty more to discover,” said Queensland Museum Network CEO Dr Jim Thompson. “I am proud that Queensland Museum palaeontologists have been part of many of these amazing discoveries and are leaders in their fields.”

In order to be sure the specimen was indeed an Australotitan, scientists created 3D scans of each bone and compared them to other known species similar in Australia and worldwide.

They found that the newly found Australotitan was similar to three other Australian sauropods (the subgroup that Australotitan falls in to): Diamantinasaurus and Savannasaurus (two smaller species) and Wintonotitan (a larger one), all present in the same time period.

“Australotitan adds to the growing list of uniquely Australian dinosaur species discovered in Outback Queensland,” said Scott Hocknull, a vertebrate palaeoecologist at the Queensland Museum and one of the lead scientists of the new study.

“Discoveries like this are just the tip of the iceberg,” he continued “Our ultimate goal is to find the evidence that tells the changing story of Queensland, hundreds of millions of years in the making. A grand story all scientists, museums and tourists can get behind.”

Crazy, huh? To hear more about the discovery and see some interesting video footage about the newly found specimen, check out the video below!

Have you ever heard of the Australotitan cooperensis? Did you know that dinosaur specimens could still be roaming the Earth millions of years later?