Opalised dinosaur fossil found at Lightning Ridge a new species

By Australian Geographic June 4, 2019
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Lightning Ridge is a true treasure chest of dinosaur fossils.

SCIENTISTS HAVE discovered the remains of a herd of dinosaurs, including a new species to science, among fossils first unearthed from the outback NSW town of Lightning Ridge in the 1980s.

The new species has been named Fostoria dhimbangunmal in honour of opal miner Robert Foster, who was the first to discover the fossils.

“Fostoria has given us the most complete opalised dinosaur skeleton in the world,” says Jenni Brammall, palaeontologist and special projects officer of the Australian Opal Centre.

“Partial skeletons of extinct swimming reptiles have been found at other Australian opal fields, but for opalised dinosaurs we generally have only a single bone or tooth or in rare instances, a few bones.

“To recover dozens of bones from the one skeleton is a first.”

Researchers were shocked by the number of bones found.

“We initially assumed it was a single skeleton, but when I started looking at some of the bones, I realised that we had four scapulae (shoulder blades) all from different-sized animals,” says lead researcher from the University of New England Phil Bell.

This finding is believed to be the first dinosaur herd ever discovered in Australia.

Join us on our expedition to Lightning Ridge in 2019! See more details here.