Meet Australia’s Newest Dinosaur

The odd-looking Kunbarrasaurus has heavy armour, turtle-like ears and a beak like a parrot

The skeleton of Kunbarrasaurus may have been discovered in 1989, but thanks to new research from the University of Queensland we can finally see what the strange dinosaur looked like.

With around 95 percent of the dinosaur’s bones discovered, the researchers were able to use CT scanning to examine the animal’s head and brain, then use that data to build a 3D reconstruction.

The CT revealed Kunbarrasaurus has bones in its skin, turtle-like ears, a beak like a parrot and a more complex airway than other dinosaurs.

According to UQ School of Biological Sciences PhD student Lucy Leahey, the fossil represents the most complete dinosaur discovered in Australia and one of the world’s best-preserved ankylosaur fossils.

“Ankylosaurs were a group of four-legged, herbivorous dinosaurs, closely related to stegosaurs,” Ms Leahey said. “Like crocodiles, they had bones in their skin and are commonly referred to as ‘armoured’ dinosaurs.”

"Stegosaurus and ankylosaurus share a common ancestor and most of the examples of ankylosaurs are quite advanced," Ms Leahey said.

"Kunbarrasaurus is quite primitive so it's closer towards that common ancestor than to the higher, more advanced forms."

The skeleton of Kunbarrasaurus ieversi is on display at the Queensland Museum.

[Image: Australian Geographic]

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