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Austrosaurus facts for kids

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Temporal range:
Early Cretaceous, late Albian
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Clade: Saurischia
Suborder: Sauropodomorpha
Clade: Sauropoda
Clade: Somphospondyli
Genus: Austrosaurus
Longman, 1933
Type species
Austrosaurus mckillopi
Longman, 1933

Austrosaurus (meaning "Southern lizard") was an extinct genus of titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur from the Allaru Formation and Winton Formation, from the early Cretaceous (110-105 million years ago) of Central-Western Queensland in Australia.

Discovery and species

The remains were discovered by Mr. H.B. Wade on Clutha Station near Maxwelton in north Queensland in 1932, who alerted the station manager H. Mackillop, who showed his brother who sent them to the Queensland Museum. Austrosaurus was described by Heber Longman in 1933.


Originally it was thought that sauropods spent time near or in water to relieve weight from their legs. However, this theory is now rejected and it is believed that Austrosaurus like all sauropods lived on dry land. Fossil finds suggest a height of approximately 3.9 metres at the hip and 4.1 metres at the shoulder, which would have given it an almost level back. According to Gregory S. Paul, it was 20 meters long and weighed about 16, 000 kg.


Initially, Austrosaurus was considered a cetiosaurid, like Patagosaurus or Shunosaurus. Hocknull et al. (2009) described the new sauropod Wintonotitan from material that originally assigned to Austrosaurus by Coombs and Molnar in 1981. Hocknull suggested that Austrosaurus mckillopi differed only slightly from the QMF 7292, the holotype of Wintonotitan wattsii, and should be considered a nomen dubium. Recently, Poropat et al. (2017) reported additional sauropod material from the Austrosaurus type locality and assigned them to the Austrosaurus holotype, finding the genus to be a valid titanosauriform tentatively assignable to Somphospondyli.

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