Excavators made an incredible find in the outback of Australia of Opal-encrusted Dinosaurs which seems to be a completely new species.
Phil Bell from the University of New England, Australia said they discovered approximately 60 bones from an adult dinosaur which included part of a brain case along with other bones from approximately 3 different animals.
The fossils were initially discovered in an opal mine in New South Wales in the 80s, donated to a museum then dismissed for approximately 30 years. This species has been named “ Fostoria dhimbangunmal”. It seems these dinosaurs date back from the mid-Jurassic period to the late Cretaceous which is approximately 175 million years ago. The Iguanodontian is a clade of herbivorous dinosaurs who were two-legged.
The discovery was published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
Opalized fossils are similar to other fossils accept they are preserved in silica, not rock. Opal forms in cavities of rocks and if a living part, such as a bone, is buried in the sand or clay before turning to stone, the opal can create a fossil replica of the buried object.
Partial skeletons of extinct reptiles have been formed and discovered in other areas of Australia but finding a complete opalized dinosaur skeleton is the rarest in the entire world. Scientists have found single bones or a tooth but to recover dozens of bones from one skeleton is extraordinary.
Originally, it was believed that the fossils came from just one dinosaur but upon further examination, they discovered they had 4 shoulder blades from different sized animals. The team finally identified 4 Fostoria skeletons from juveniles to adults. This clearly revealed these animals came from a herd. The team said this is the first time such a discovery has ever been made in Australia.