You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Scientists discover new dinosaur that was the size of a dog after finding its jawbone fossilised in precious opal

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 07/12/2018 Peter Lloyd for MailOnline

a group of people riding on the back of a horse: The Weewarrasaurus poben: Experts believe it would've moved on two legs, had beaks with serrated teeth and roamed on the ancient floodplains which covered the region at the time © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The Weewarrasaurus poben: Experts believe it would've moved on two legs, had beaks with serrated teeth and roamed on the ancient floodplains which covered the region at the time A brand new species of dinosaur has been discovered in Australia. 

It comes after a fragment of fossilised jawbone was found in embedded within a glittering piece of opal stone at the Wee Warra mine in Lightning Ridge, New South Wales.

The two-legged reptile, dubbed Weewarrasaurus pobeni after the site of its discovery, probably lived in the Cretaceous Period, 100 million years ago.

It formed part of a group of plant-eating dinosaurs called ornithopods and was no bigger than the size of a domestic dog. 

Experts believe it would've moved on two legs, had beaks with serrated teeth and roamed on the ancient floodplains which covered the region at the time.  

The incredible discovery was made by Mike Poben, an Adelaide-based Opal buyer who spotted the jaw bone while searching through opal fragments. 

'I was sorting some rough opal when, astonishingly, I saw two fan-like ridges protruding from the dirt around one oddly-shaped piece,' he said. 

'Time froze. If these were teeth, then this was an opalised jawbone fragment.'

Poben later donated the fragment to the University of New England in nearby Armidale for research. 

Palaeontologist Dr Phil Bell, who led the analysis, said: 'I remember Mike showing me the specimen and my jaw dropped. I had to try hard to contain my excitement, it was so beautiful.' 

a close up of an animal: Discovery: The incredible discovery was made by Mike Poben, an Adelaide-based Opal buyer who spotted the jaw bone while searching through opal fragments © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Discovery: The incredible discovery was made by Mike Poben, an Adelaide-based Opal buyer who spotted the jaw bone while searching through opal fragments

He added that Lightning Ridge is a premium fossil resource because it has preserved a number of unique finds.

'If these fossils were in surface rock, like those found in China and Mongolia, it would be an absolute treasure-trove.

'Unfortunately, the fossil remnants we see are almost always part of mining spoil, because they sit in rock strata that is lies up to 30 metres underground. 

'The mining process breaks the fossils into fragments – but on the other hand, we would never get to see even those fragments if it wasn’t for mining.'  

The Weewarrasaurus jaw is now part of the Australian Opal Centre collection, the world's most diverse public collection of opalised fossils. 

AdChoices
AdChoices

More From Daily Mail

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon