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Entire herd of new dinosaurs discovered in Australia!

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The remains of an entire herd of 100-million-year-old dinosaurs has been discovered in Australia.

The herd was found in the opal mining town of Lightning Ridge in outback NSW, together with a new species and the world’s most complete opalised dinosaur.

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The discoveries were announced on Monday night in the US-based Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology by a team of Australian scientists led by Phil Bell of the University of New England, Armidale.

Dr Bell said he was ‘stunned’ by the number of bones found in the underground opal mine.

“We initially assumed it was a single skeleton, but when I started looking at some of the bones I ­realised we had four scapulae (shoulder blades) all from different sized animals,” he said.

“There are about 60 opalised bones from one adult dinosaur, including part of the braincase, and bones from at least another three animals.”

The new dinosaur has been named Fostoria dhimbangunmal (pronounced bim-baan goon-mal), in Foster’s honour, and the new species has been named dhimbangunmal, meaning “sheep yard” in the local Yawaalaraay Aboriginal language.

Parts of four Fostoria skeletons were dug up, ranging from small infants to adults that might have been 5m long, leading palaeontologists to conclude they were part of a small herd.

“Partial skeletons of extinct swimming reptiles have been found at other Australian opal fields but for opalised dinosaurs we generally have only a single bone or tooth or, in rare instances, a few bones. To recover dozens of bones from the one skeleton is a first.”

She said Fostoria was a plant-eating iguanodontian dinosaur closely related to Muttaburrasaurus discovered in 1980. The discovery comes on the back of the discovery of a small plant-eating dinosaur also from Lightning Ridge, Weewarrasaurus pobeni, which was named by Dr Bell and colleagues late last year.

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