Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Winton Dinosaurs

The Queensland Museum Geosciences and Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum [opens in new window] have been actively excavating dinosaurs from western Queensland, near the township of Winton, since 2001. This collaboration was sparked by the discovery, in 1999, of one of Australia's largest dinosaurs, dubbed "Elliot", a gigantic sauropod from the Cretaceous Period (95 million years ago).

The dinosaur bones are from rocks found in the Winton Formation, a geological layer 102-98 million years old. Since excavations began, several other types of dinosaurs have been found, including plant-eating ankylosaurs and ornithopods, plus the serrated teeth of carnivorous theropod dinosaurs.

Among the remains of these dinosaurs are the fossils of small animals and plants, which may have been considered dinosaurs' food!

Volunteers from across Australia and overseas help to excavate the dinosaur bones, putting them in plaster jackets ready for transport to the lab. There, they are painstakingly prepared for scientific study and display.

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