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Opal-Filled Fossils Reveal Timid, Dog-Size Dinosaur Living Under



  Opal-Filled Fossils Reveal Timid, Dog-Size Dinosaur Living

The Dinosaur Weewarrasaurus Pobeni was about the size of an Australian sheepdog.

Credit: James Keuther

When Mike Poben, an opal buyer and fossil fanatic, bought a bouquet of opal from an Australian mine, he was surprised to find out what looked like an old tooth in the pile. 1

9659005] Later he also found a fossilized jaw piece – one that was shiny and shiny with opal.

Having shown the two opal samples to paleontologists in 2014, Poben learned that they were part of a previously unknown dog size dinosaur, a new study finds. This dino lived about 100 million years ago in Australia, as the landscape was lush and dotted with lakes. [Photos: Meet Wade, the Long-Necked Dinosaur from Down Under]

The fossils originally came from a mine in Wee Warra, near the town of Lightning Ridge in New South Wales. The mine's amazing name gave the paleontologists an opportunity that was too good to pass so that they were called the newly found Cretaceous dinosaur Weewarrasaurus pobeni . Weewarrasaurus was a gentle plant life about the size of a kelpie dog [a type of Australian herding dog] "said the study leader researcher Phil Bell, a lecturer in paleontology at the University of New England in Australia." had a long tail used for balance. Because they were small and had no horns or particularly sharp claws for defense, they were probably quite brave and would have traveled in small herds or family units for protection. "

That way, these dinosaurs were probably Kangaroos of Cross Australia, Bell told Live Science." I think I would have wanted a pet. "

<img class =" clean-img lazy "big -SRc = "https://img.purch.com/h/1400/aHR0cDovL3d3dy5saXZlc2NpZW5jZS5jb20vaW1hZ2VzL2kvMDAwLzEwMy83NDYvb3JpZ2luYWwvVy1wb2Jlbmktb3BhbC5qcGc/MTU0NzY3Mzk0NQ==" data-src = "https://img.purch.com/w/640/aHR0cDovL3d3dy5saXZlc2NpZW5jZS5jb20vaW1hZ2VzL2kvMDAwLzEwMy83NDYvaTAyL1ctcG9iZW5pLW9wYWwuanBnPzE1NDc2NzM5NDU=" alt = "opals gleams on jaw fossils of Weewarrasaurus pobeni . “/>

opal flashes on the jaw Weewarrasaurus pobeni .

Credit: Robert A. Smith, thanks to the Australian Opal Center

The discovery is remarkable, and not just because Poben came across the fossils in an opal-filled bucket. It is extremely rare to find opalescent fossils in general, although "Lightning Ridge is the only place in the world where you find opalized dinosaurs," Bell said.

During the chalk, Lightning Ridge was a floodplain where dinosaurs lived, Bell's help. Most of the opal fossils found came from marine creatures living in a nearby ancient sea. These iridescent fossils include shells, cephalopods called belemnites and marine reptiles, called plesiosaurs.

But sometimes an opal dinosaur is discovered.

"Occasionally, a bone from a land animal, like a dinosaur, would be flushed out to sea" and fossilize, Bell said. There they may encounter silica minerals in the water, the solution that makes opal. Sometimes, as these bones fossilized in rock, these minerals would accumulate in the cavities of the fossils and lay opal. Other times, if the organic bone was still present, these silica minerals could take shape and retain its internal structure as opal, according to Geology In, a news site focusing on earth sciences.

Unfortunately, the rest of W. pobeni is at least this particular sample, probably lost and gone forever.

"Because these things are excavated by opal miners, many other information is often lost as their exact position in the mine and other fossils found around it," Bell said. "We know of many cases where a miner has raised a handful of bones from a single animal. The rest of the case may have been destroyed in the mining or sitting in a garbage collection at the bottom of the mine." [19659005] Poben has since donated fossils to the Australian Opal Center, a museum that has the world's largest collection of opalescent fossils according to National Geographic.

The study was published online in December in the journal PeerJ.

Original published on Live Science . . if (rect.top <window.innerHeight) {loadAPI (); window.removeEventListener ("scroll", listener)}}; window.addEventListener ("scroll", listening)}}); function loadAPI () {var js = document.createElement ("script"); js.src = "http://connect.facebook.net/da_US/sdk.js#xf BML = 1 & AppID = 131734303545872 & execution = v2.4" document.body.appendChild (js)}
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