This is the first time a plesiosaur with its head attached to its body has been found in Australia.


Outback Queensland is getting a reputation as the ‘dinosaur capital of the world’. Big call, sure, but the frequency of finds is pretty phenomenal – so much so that Queensland recently made Muttaburrasaurus langdoni (kind of like a massive bipedal iguana) its state emblem.

The recent find was a type of plesiosaur called an elasmosaurus (Eromangasaurus australis) and goodness they’re a bit weird. About two-thirds of the ten metre long marine reptile was neck, and they had small flippers like a turtle to get around.

This long-as neck meant that when the creature died in the ocean, the head would often sink and end up nowhere near the body. It’s pretty rare worldwide to find the head attached and it’s never been found this way in Australia.


Photo: Queensland Museum

The Rock Chicks

The fossil was found by the ‘Rock Chicks’ a group of amateur palaeontologists who also work as graziers. As The Guardian reports, Cassandra Prince literally saw the skull sitting on the ground:


‘I’m like, no, you know, this is not real,’ Prince said. ‘And then I look down again and I’m like, holy hell, I think that’s a skull looking up at me.’


Dr Espen Knutsen, Senior Curator of Palaeontology at the Queensland Museum joined the crew for a five day dig to uncover the fossil, which will now be transported to the Museum of Queensland for further research.

‘[These discoveries give us] a lot of ability to understand the biodynamics of these types of animals, how they move, what sort of environments they need to be in and how a skeleton is put together,’ said Queensland Museum Network chief executive Jim Thompson whilst speaking to the ABC.


Photo: Queensland Museum


A Boon for Tourism

Fossilised footprints, remains and new museums have been popping up along the Australian Dinosaur Trail, which runs through Hughenden, Richmond, and Winton in Queesnland’s west.

The 100 person town of Muttaburra even has a dinosaur, the Muttaburrasaurus, named after the town.

Many locals are welcoming the tourists in as these traditional sheep grazing towns reap the benefits of a second income stream.

Let’s find some more hey?


Feature image thanks to Queensland Museum