Muttaburrasaurus

Friday, December 2, 2016

Muttaburrasaurus by PaleoGuy on DeviantArt

Muttaburrasaurus was a genus of herbivorous ornithopod dinosaur, which lived in what is now northeastern Australia sometime between 112 and 99.6 million years ago during the early Cretaceous Period. It has been recovered in some analyses as a member of the iguanodontian family Rhabdodontidae. After Kunbarrasaurus, it is Australia’s most completely known dinosaur from skeletal remains. It was named after Muttaburra, the site in Queensland, Australia, where it was found.
 

Muttaburrasaurus was about 8 metres (26 ft) and weighed around 2.8 metric tons (3.1 short tons). The femur of the holotype has a length of 1015 millimetres.

Whether Muttaburrasaurus is capable of quadrupedal movement has been debated; it was originally thought to be an “Iguanodontid”; thought recent studies indicate a rhabdodont position. Ornithopods this basal were incapable of quadrupedal movement. Originally reconstructing Muttaburrasaurus with a thumb spike, Molnar later doubted such a structure was present. The foot was long and broad, with four toes.

Muttaburrasaurus skeleton, as viewed from the Information Section at the Queensland Museum, Brisbane. Author: Figaro

Molnar originally assigned Muttaburrasaurus to the Iguanodontidae. Later authors suggested more basal euornithopod groups such as the Camptosauridae, Dryosauridae or Hypsilophodontidae. Studies by Andrew McDonald indicate a position in the Rhabdodontidae.

Reconstructed skeleton casts of Muttaburrasaurus, sponsored by Kellogg Company, have been put on display at a number of museums, including the Queensland Museum, Flinders Discovery Centre, and National Dinosaur Museum in Australia.

Mounted skull of a Muttaburrasaurus langdoni at the Australian Museum, Sydney. Photo by Matt Martyniuk (Dinoguy2)

 

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