A newly published study details a small dinosaur about the size of a turkey that was discovered in Australia. Named Diluvicursor pickeringi, the dinosaur was small, herbivorous, and bipedal with a very long tail. Researchers found a partial skeleton — just that long tail and some foot bones — belonging to the dinosaur fossilized in rock dating back 113 million years.
The newly discovered dinosaur is an ornithopod, one that researchers say had lived in a rift valley that at one time existed between Antarctica and Australia. Rock remnants from that valley are found in southern Australia around Victoria, where they make sea cliffs and rocky platforms, according to Phys.org.
The dinosaur’s tail is described as having been “extraordinarily long.” Though detailed recently in the journal PeerJ, the fossil discovery itself is not new; it was made back in 2005. The remains serve to help researchers understand ornithopods, particularly the ones that existed in this part of Australia during that time period.
Only a preliminary reconstruction has happened at this point, but it points toward the small dinosaur having been a fast runner with powerful legs. Based on the recovered fossils, researchers believe the freshly deceased dinosaur’s remains had fallen into a log-jam at the bottom of a river that once existed in that region, ultimately preserving it alongside logs.
Thanks to this discovery, researchers now know that there were, at minimum, two different varieties of body types among southern Australian ornithopods.
Image by Peter Trusler via Phys.org