After the dinosaurs got extinct around 60 million years ago, we humans should consider ourselves lucky for finding countless fossils buried deep under the ground. Thus, archeologists concluded that there were at least 700 different species of dinosaurs that had been roaming across the surface of the Earth for millions of years.
Researchers recently concluded that a bizarre dinosaur called the elaphrosaur was among those species, after they found an 110 million-year-old fossil at a site in Victoria, Australia.
A truly bizarre creature
Besides the fact that dinosaurs were bizarre enough, the newfound fossil is revealing a truly bizarre creature on its own. This is the first record of Elaphrosaurinae coming from Australia and the second Cretaceous record of the group if we take into account the whole world. Swinburne palaeontologist Dr. Stephen Poropat detailed how elaphrosaurs looked like:
Elaphrosaurs had long necks, stumpy arms with small hands, and relatively lightly built bodies,
As dinosaurs go, they were rather bizarre.
Elaphosaurs were a group of theropods related to the modern birds, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and Velociraptor. Dr. Tim Ziegler, who is collection manager of vertebrate palaeontology at Museums Victoria, is also offering us some compelling insight about the discovery:
Elaphrosaurs were strange looking dinosaurs — they ran low to the ground on two legs, with a slender body, long neck, stubby arms, and a delicate toothless skull,
They started life eating a wide range of foods, but shed their teeth as they aged. Elaphrosaurs are unusual among theropods because adults had a plant-based diet, rather than hunting prey.
The fossil of the new elaphrosaus was a nearly complete neck vertebra. More precisely, the fossil was found in the Eric the Red West site, a part of the Eumeralla Formation. The location is near Cape Otway, Victoria.
The discovery has been reported in the journal Gondwana Research.