Researchers Discovered Small Dinosaur Which Lived In An Ancient Rift Valley In Australia

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A new dinosaur species was discovered in Australia. The Galleonosaurus Dorisae lived in an ancient rift that no longer exists, and it roamed the Earth 125 million years ago.

“These small dinosaurs would have been agile runners on their powerful hind legs,” explained Matthew Herne from the University of New England, Australia who is the lead author of the study.

Researchers managed to identify the dinosaur after finding five jaw bones at the Wonthaggi Formation of the Gippsland Basin. This geological region dates to the Cretaceous period. The findings are published in the Journal of Paleontology. When the Galleonosaurus Dorisae lived, there were two large continents, Gondwana and Laurasia, and it was during the Cretaceous period when the two continents began to split up. By the end of this period, the Earth looked similar to how it is today.

Researchers Discovered Small Dinosaur Which Used To Live In An Ancient Rift Valley In Australia

The small dinosaur lived in an ancient rift valley which existed between Australia and Antarctica. Actively erupting volcanoes existed along the rift, and a vast network of rivers carried the volcano sediments. Dinosaur bones were also mixed in with other fossils of small reptiles.

“The rift valley was lengthy—up to 1,800 miles—with the southern half inside the Antarctic polar circle. However, the region would have been climatically much warmer than the present-day polar climate. So much so that small dinosaurs, turtles, small mammals, small birds, flying reptiles, lungfish and aquatic reptiles, called plesiosaurs, all flourished in the rift environment,” explained Herne.

The finding “confirms that on a global scale, the diversity of these small-bodied dinosaurs had been unusually high in the ancient rift valley that once extended between the spreading continents of Australia and Antarctica,” Herne added.

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