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New dinosaur species identified from fossil jaw found in Australian mining rubble

Society 05.12.2018 | 10:49

SYDNEY, 5 Dec. (BelTA - Xinhua) - A new dinosaur species has been identified through the discovery of a jawbone fragment found in a bucket of opal mineral rubble near an Australian mining town, according to a latest research.

Weewarrasaurus pobeni dates back about 100 million years and was a two-legged, plant-eating dinosaur about the size of a kelpie sheep dog, local media reported on Wednesday.

The species is the first dinosaur to be named in Australia's New South Wales state in almost a century and it honors the Wee Warra opal field near Lightning Ridge where the fossil was first spotted five years ago, reported the ABC news channel.

"There are certain features about the teeth that are a dead ringer for a group of dinosaurs we call ornithopods, and these are all characteristically relatively small, dog-sized, bipedal animals that eat plants," University of New England paleontologist Dr Phil Bell told the channel. Bell and his team spent the past few years investigating the origins of the fossil fragment before determining that it belonged to the species believed to have roamed the state's ancient northern floodplains.

The university is now looking into acquiring mines known to produce fossils, according to the channel.

"Unfortunately, the fossil remnants we see are almost always part of mining spoil... but on another hand, we would never get to see even those fragments if it wasn't for mining," said Bell.

The jaw fragment has been added to the Australian Opal Center collection.

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