Muttaburrasaurus langdoni: One of the Most Complete Dinosaur Fossils in Australia

Queensland Museum

Named after the town of Muttaburra in central Queensland, Muttaburrasaurus langdoni was discovered by local grazier Doug Langdon, for whom the dinosaur is named. Muttaburrasaurus lived around 100 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period. It was a herbivore, with rows of grinding teeth. Several specimens of this dinosaur have been found in central and northern Queensland, and a few teeth have been found in New South Wales. Muttaburrasaurus was about 7m long, and probably ate plants such as ferns, cycads and conifers. It may have lived in herds.

Dates from the Cretaceous Period. It was discovered near the central west township of Muttaburra by grazier Doug Langdon in 1962. Remains have also been found elsewhere in Queensland and in New South Wales, making it one of the most wide ranging Australian Dinosaurs.

After nearly two decades of careful preparation by Queensland Museum staff, the bones revealed a new species of ornithopod dinosaur. The specimen was formally described as Muttaburrasaurus langdoni by palaeontologists, Dr Alan Bartholomai and Dr Ralph Molnar, in 1981.

Muttaburrasaurus is one of the best known and most complete dinosaur fossils in Australia. It grew to about 7m long and was 3m high at the hip. A herbivore, the dinosaur is estimated to have weighed about 2800 kg and it could walk on two or four legs.

A unique feature of Muttaburrasaurus is its large rounded snout, which has hollow internal chambers. Scientists believe these chambers may have been used to enhance the animals sense of smell. Alternatively, they may also have formed a resonating chamber, enabling the animal to make loud hooting sounds to communicate with other members of its species.

Credits: Story

Images and text from: In Search of Ancient Queensland.
Principal Authors: Dr Alex Cook and Dr Andrew Rozefelds.
Published by the Queensland Museum, 2015.
Photographers: Peter Waddington, Gary Cranitch

Credits: All media
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