Dr Scott Hocknull with 3D reconstruction and bone of 'Cooper's' humerus, image Rochelle Lawrence 2015.
What’s as long as a basketball court, taller than a b-double and has just stomped onto the record books as Australia’s largest dinosaur? Australotitan cooperensis is a new species of giant sauropod dinosaur from Eromanga, southwest Queensland.
Australotitan, “the southern titan”, has been scientifically described and named by Queensland Museum and Eromanga Natural History Museum palaeontologists. The fossilised skeleton was originally nicknamed ‘Cooper’ after Cooper Creek, when first discovered in 2007. It now represents the largest species of dinosaur ever found in Australia.
Dinosaur bones are enormous, heavy and fragile, and are housed in various museums 100s-1000s of kilometres apart, making scientific study difficult. At an estimated height of 5-6.5 metres at the hip and 25-30 metres in length, digitisation plays a crucial role in storing, exploring and sharing this discovery worldwide whilst preserving the specimens for generations to come.
Queensland Museum Network researchers used new digital technology to 3-D scan each bone of Australotitan cooperensis and compare them to the bones of its closest relatives. These scans will form part of the museum’s digital collection powered by Project DIG.
The scientific publication marks a seventeen-year long culmination of the joint effort between Queensland Museum and Eromanga Natural History Museum palaeontologists, fossil preparators, geologists, and countless volunteers.
The new paper was published recently in the international journal Peer J and can be viewed here.