Guest Post by Professor Patricia Vickers-Rich, who delivered two intriguing talks entitled ‘Dinos in Mukluks’ on 21 and 22 October at Science Centre Singapore. The following is extracted from “First Spinosaurid dinosaur from Australia and the cosmopolitanism of Cretaceous dinosaur faunas”.
In 2005, a team of palaeontologists led by Michael Cleeland and George Caspar, discovered evidence of the first ever Australian spinosaur dinosaur. The discovery was made near the Cape Otway Lighthouse in Victoria.
The 4cm neck vertebra belonged to a small spinosaur around 2 metres long and its discovery has shed light on the evolutionary history of the spinosaurs. It suggested that this group of ‘spine lizard’ dinosaurs once roamed all over the globe and were not restricted to a particular region, as previously thought.
Spinosaurs were previously known from Europe, Africa and South America. The fact that they existed in Australia has changed our understanding of the evolution of this group of dinosaurs.
The presence of an Australian spinosaur in combination with recent discoveries of other dinosaur groups on this continent previously thought to be restricted to the Northern Hemisphere provides further evidence for the worldwide distribution of dinosaur faunas.
The same groups of dinosaurs were widespread when the Earth was once a supercontinent. When the Earth evolved into separate continents, the various families of dinosaurs had already reached those landmasses and that is why the same ones have been found in places now far apart from one another.
See a ‘Live’ Spinosaur and find out more about these fascinating creatures at the Dinosaurs-Live! Exhibition, Science Centre Annexe Hall! Step into a prehistoric world and come face-to-face with over 50 life sized dinosaurs. Watch them move, hear them roar and gain precious insights into their evolution, habitats and more. From now till 26 Feb 2012 only!
Professor Patricia Vickers-Rich is a renowned palaeontologist and geologist. She has hunted dinosaurs around the world – from the cold, northern slopes of Alaska, to the windswept deserts of Patagonia, and along the rocky shore platforms along the northern edge of Bass Strait in Australia. Patricia also carries out research on the origin of animals and is Director of the Monash Science Centre, in Melbourne.