110-million-old rare species of ‘toothless dinosaur’ discovered in Australia


110-million-old rare species of ‘toothless dinosaur’ discovered in Australia

A fossil of a rare and unique toothless dinosaur, named
Elaphrosaur, has been discovered by palaeontologists in Australia. As per a statement released by the Swinburne University of Technology, the dinosaur must have roamed in Australia around 110 million years ago.

The rare fossil was discovered in 2015 by Jessica Parker, a volunteer digger, near Cape Otway in Victoria, Australia; it was identified by a team led by Swinburne University of Technology palaeontologist Dr Stephen Poropat.

As per the reports, the 5 cm long vertebrae fossil or the long neck bone belonged to a dinosaur known as Elaphrosaur, which means ‘light-footed lizard’. Reportedly, the fossil is related to Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor.

The said fossil was believed to be an animal that was around 2 m long, i.e., 6.5 ft long. However, similar fossils, related to Elaphrosaur, which were previously discovered in China, Tanzania, and Argentina, revealed that these can grow up to 6 m in length.

Revealing details about this fossil, Palaeontologist Dr Stephen Propat informed that the Australian elaphrosaurus had stumpy arms, long necks, small hands, and more likely, it was lightly-built that probably did not survive on meat.

He also added that the findings regarding the dinosaurs are rather bizarre. The few known skulls of Elaphrosaur reveal that the youngsters had teeth, however, when they grow into adults, they start losing their teeth, which are then replaced with a horny beak, he mentioned. They are not yet sure if this fact holds true for the Victorian Elaphrosaur yet; however, they might be able to find out more if they ever discover a skull.

Dr Propat added that their toothsome youth highlights that they must have likely gone through some kind of dietary shift with age, and can be speculated that it was primarily a herbivorous animal (as an adult), which might have been an opportunistic predator of small animals.

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