A freak discovery, fate and a fascination with dinosaurs are behind a scientific breakthrough that has led to the identification of a new prehistoric species.
Weewarrasauras pobeni is the first dinosaur to be named in New South Wales in almost a century, following a chance discovery of a jawbone fragment in a bucket of opal rubble near Lightning Ridge.
It was a two-legged, plant-eating dinosaur about the size of a kelpie dog that roamed the ancient floodplains in the state’s north 100 million years ago.
The name honours the Wee Warra opal field, where the fossil was found, and opal buyer Mike Poben, who saw something special in the specimen and donated it for research.
I always wonder how the experts can identify bits of bone etc Is DNA still in bone after all these years,? and I wonder how do they know they are looking at a creature of sorts when they just see a small fragment in a bucket of dust or sand. I always wonder about such things when ever I hear about these finds. Also how do we know they are correct?
I thought the size of this one interesting as most of them were enormous by today’s standards and needed to be so to survive as long as they did. I guess the little ants were around then though!
I’m happy to accept the knowledge of those who study such things – does it really matter if they might get it wrong??
Weewarrasauras Pobeni was a small, herbivorous dinosaur that walked the earth on two legs about 100 million years ago – back when the area of outback NSW near the opal mining mecca Lightning Ridge received good rainfall and was fringed by waterways. It was about the size of a kelpie, or as University of New England palaeontologist Phil Bell described it, “a good pet-size dinosaur”.
I would have loved to have been a palaeontologist.
Another aspect of that particular find is that it was in the opal mining area, and apparently there could possibly be many fossils that have ”opalised”, so the dilemma can often be whether to retrieve a fossil or mine an opal.