Dinosaur fossil from a supposed huge carnivore actually belongs to something else

The footprint, which dates again to the Triassic Period about 220 million years in the past, was initially thought to have come from a big dinosaur from the Eubrontes household, mentioned lead examine writer Anthony Romilio, a technical assistant within the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences on the University of Queensland in Australia, in a press release.

He labored with a group of worldwide researchers to reanalyze the fossil and located the footprint belonged to the Prosauropod, an herbivorous dinosaur. This would make the footprint the one bodily proof of any Triassic-age Prosauropod in Australia, Romilio mentioned.

The fossil was found in a coal mine in Ipswich, a metropolis west of Brisbane, almost 656 ft (200 meters) underground. Scientists on the time estimated the creature that made the footprint to have legs over 6 ft (2 meters) tall, which might have made it the biggest carnivorous dinosaur of the Triassic interval, he mentioned.

Romilio wasn’t shopping for it — partially due to a scarcity of constant information relating to the fossil.

“I knew about this fossil many years ago and was surprised there was no consensus on basic details such as the footprint length or even its shape,” he mentioned.

Researchers looked at 3D images of the fossil footprint to determine what type of dinosaur made those tracks.

One indication the footprint got here from an herbivore like Prosauropod was the form of the ft, Romilio mentioned. Predatory dinosaurs had toes that have been bunched collectively, however the fossil’s toes have been unfold aside.

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This long-necked animal had legs round 4.5 ft (1.4 meters) tall and was almost 20 ft (6 meters) in size. The dinosaur possible had a small head and walked on two ft, Romilio added.

Earlier scientists weren’t in a position to study the fossil when conducting their analysis, which compelled them to make their conclusions based mostly on images and drawings, Romilio mentioned within the assertion.

Geologists made plaster casts of the footprint in 1964, which have been later changed into 3D fashions that the analysis group studied, mentioned coauthor Hendrik Klein, in a press release. He is a fossil knowledgeable at Saurierwelt Paläontologisches Museum in Germany.

“The more we looked at the footprint and toe impression shapes and proportions, the less they resembled tracks made by predatory dinosaurs — this monster dinosaur was definitely a much friendlier plant-eater,” Klein mentioned.

Dinosaur fans can catch a glimpse of the dinosaur fossil on the Queensland Museum in Brisbane or check out the 3D model online.

Romilio is investigating different dinosaur fossil footprints in China, South Korea and the United States to study extra in regards to the creatures that made them.

Each dinosaur created hundreds of thousands of tracks throughout its lifetime, so collectively they left considerably extra fossil footprints than bones to analysis, he mentioned.

The examine printed Thursday in Historical Biology.

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