New Queensland dinosaur named a decade after discovery

Savannasaurus elliottorum Australian Age of Dinosaurs | Facebook

A NEW species of dinosaur discovered in western Queensland has been named 11 years after the fossil bones were first excavated.

The Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum (AAOD) has today introduced Savannasaurus elliottorum, a long-necked, plant-eating sauropod that existed in Queensland 95 million years ago.

The creature was named after grazier David Elliott, co-founder of the AAOD Museum, who first discovered bone fragments while mustering sheep near Winton in early 2005.

New Dinosaur is an Aussie: Fossils first discovered in 2005 near Winton, Qld.


"The name references the savannah country of western Queensland in which it was found, and honours the Elliott family for their ongoing commitment to Australian palaeontology," Research Associate at the AAOD Museum Dr Stephen Poropat said in the report.

Before today the dinosaur was referred to as "Wade", a nickname given to the new discovery in honour of Australian palaeontologist Dr Mary Wade.

"Mary was a very close friend of ours and she passed away while we were digging at the site," Mr Elliott said. 

Dr Stephen Poropat and David Elliott
Dr Stephen Poropat and David Elliott Australian Age of Dinosaurs | Facebook

The Winton site was excavated in September 2005 by AAOD Museum and Queensland Museum staff and volunteers.

After more than a decade and 17 pallets of bones encased in rock were recovered, removal of the rock revealed one of the most complete sauropod dinosaur skeletons ever found in Australia. 

According to the AAOD, S. elliottorum had very wide hips and widely-spaced, stocky limbs with five toes on each foot. 

It is hoped the dinosaur, which is a branch of sauropods known as titanosaurs, will shed some light on the origin of Australian titanosaurs.

S. elliottorum and Dr Stephen Poropat
S. elliottorum and Dr Stephen Poropat Australian Age of Dinosaurs | Facebook

The AAOD reported Titanosaurs achieved a worldwide distribution by at least 125 million years ago.

Dr Poropat told the ABC it appears S. elliottorum came to Australia around 105 million years ago from South America when these Titanosaurs took advantage of the warmer global temperatures and dispersed through Antarctica to Australia.