Dinosaur profile: Muttaburrasaurus

Ben Kear:

Minmi isn’t the only dinosaur that’s been found in these Cretaceous deposits of Western Queensland. Muttaburrasaurus, named after the town of Muttaburra, is basically another one of these giant dinosaurs, a giant herbivorous dinosaur, nine metres long but a bipedal animal. Interestingly the front limbs had these huge spikes on the thumbs, probably used as defensive weapons against predators or perhaps other Muttaburrasaurus. The other interesting thing is the skull, it has this huge bulge on the front of it’s snout, and the idea is it was some sort of resonating organ. You can imagine these animals making sort of subsonic calls that would have resonated, echoed across the landscape.

The reality of fossils is very different to what you see on display. This is the skull of Muttaburrasaurus, a giant herbivorous dinosaur. You can see it’s quite different from the reconstructed skeleton. But what we’ve been able to do here is reconstruct the animal itself based on the real fossil so you’re looking at the back of the skull, the orbit, and the snout in two pieces. The large bulbous part on the front of the nose is still here, and this is how we were able to reconstruct, in terms of the reconstructed skeleton, you can see the actual features preserved in stone, preserved as a fossil.