Muttaburrasaurus is named after the town of Muttaburra in central Queensland.
Muttaburrasaurus Scientific Classification
- Scientific Name
- Muttaburrasaurus langdoni
Muttaburrasaurus Conservation Status
- Diet for this Fish
Muttaburrasaurus langdoni was discovered by local grazier Doug Langdon. The dinosaur is named after the town of Muttaburra in Queensland, Australia, as well as for Langdon. Having lived around 100 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period, it was an herbivore. Several specimens of Muttaburrasaurus have been found in central and northern Queensland. Some teeth have also been found in New South Wales. Muttaburrasaurus was about 23 feet long.
Description & Size
Muttaburrasaurus is an extinct genus of herbivorous dinosaurs that lived about 100 million years ago. The genus is named after the town of Muttaburra in central Queensland, where the first fossil of the genus was found.
The Muttaburrasaurus was a giant ornithopod dinosaur. It was about 26 feet tall and might have weighed about 2.8 metric tons. Being an ornithopod, this dinosaur had long hindlimbs while the forelimbs were reduced. The tail was long and stiffened. Scientists think this dinosaur was capable of either moving on all fours or just its two back legs. However, whether or not this dinosaur used its front leg for movement had been a subject of debate for a long time.
The Muttaburrasaurus had long and broad legs with four toes. One of the most unusual features of this dinosaur was its unique skull which had a long, rounded snout. The skull was flat and had an enlarged nasal muzzle which was probably used for display purposes or for making distinctive calls.
Diet – What Did Muttaburrasaurus Eat?
There is no direct evidence that confirms the Muttaburrasaurus’ diet. However, Paleontologists agree that it was an herbivore that probably fed on ferns, club-mosses, cycads, podocarps, and other primitive plants in abundance in its native region. Based on the shape of this dinosaur’s teeth, some scientists have theorized that the Muttaburrasaurus probably also ate meat.
Habitat – When and Where Muttaburrasaurus Lived
Muttaburrasaurus is one of Australia’s rare, completely known dinosaurs. It lived in conifer forests near the edge of the ancient Eromanga sea, which covered vast areas of the Australian continent between 125-100 million years ago. The forest understory had an abundance of ferns and cycads that made up a significant part of the Muttaburrasaurus’ diet. The climate in this region was milder than it is today. From the distribution of the fossils, the Muttaburrasaurus had the widest distribution of all the dinosaurs found in Australia.
Threats And Predators
So far, we do not know a lot about the predators that this dinosaur faced when it was alive. Considering the fact that it was an herbivore without defensive features, it must have been an easy prey for many large carnivorous theropod dinosaurs that lived in the same range. Also, it probably competed with other herbivorous dinosaurs sharing the same habitat for vegetation.
Discoveries and Fossils – Where Muttaburrasaurus Was Found
Fossils of the Muttaburrasaurus were first discovered in 1963 by Doug Langdon. It was a partial skeleton found at the Rosebery Downs Station beside Thomson River in the town of Muttaburra in Queensland. The generic name of this dinosaur is based on the town where it was found, while the specific name “langdoni” refers to the man that discovered the creature’s first fossil.
Paleontologists found another specimen at the Dunluce station near Hughenden in the north-central region of Queensland. Another fossil that probably belonged to a different species was found in the north-central part of New South Wales.
Extinction – When Did It Die Out?
The Muttaburrasaurus probably went extinct about 100 million years ago towards the end of the early Cretaceous period. Scientists are not exactly sure why this dinosaur species died off. However, there are some theories, which include; environmental changes and the appearance of egg-eating mammalian species that interfered with the dinosaur’s ability to reproduce.
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Muttaburrasaurus FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
When was the Muttaburrasaurus alive?
The Muttaburrasaurus lived in northeastern Australia during the early Cretaceous period. This was between 110 to 103 million years ago.
How big was Muttaburrasaurus?
Muttaburrasaurus was a medium-sized dinosaur. It measured about 7.5 feet in height and was at least 26 feet long from its nose to the tip of its tail. This dinosaur weighed about 3 tons (6200lbs). This means it was about the same size as the African forest elephants of today.
What did the Muttaburrasaurus eat?
The Muttaburrasaurus was an herbivore. It probably ate ferns, club-moses, cycads, podocarps, and other primitive plants that were in northeastern Australia where it lived. Some scientists have also theorized that this dinosaur might have been capable of eating flesh.
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- Natural History Museum, London, Available here: https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/dino-directory/muttaburrasaurus.html
- Australian Museum, Available here: https://australian.museum/learn/dinosaurs/fact-sheets/muttaburrasaurus-langdoni/
- Queensland Museum, Available here: https://www.qm.qld.gov.au/Explore/Find+out+about/Dinosaurs+and+Ancient+Life+of+Queensland/Dinosaurs/Eromanga+giants/Muttaburrasaurus%C2%A0
- Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muttaburrasaurus