Don't expect to have Diluvicursor pickeringi for Thanksgiving dinner anytime soon.
Paleontologists have discovered a new species of dinosaur in south eastern Australia that was the size of a turkey.
Named after the late paleontologist David Pickering, the new species of dinosaur was found in 113-million-year-old rocks that form a sea platform near Cape Otway in Victoria.
The findings, published for the first time ever, were made by University of Queensland School of Biological Sciences alumnus Dr. Matt Herne and his colleagues.
Diluvicursor pickeringi (pronounced di-loovy-cursor pickering-i) means Pickering’s flood-running dinosaur.
“Diluvicursor shows for the first time that there were at least two distinct body-types among closely related ornithopods ̶ small, two-legged grazing dinosaurs ̶ in this part of Australia,” Dr. Herne said, according to a press release from the University of Queensland.
He added that one of the types, known as Leaellynasaura, "was lightly built with an extraordinarily long tail, while the other – Diluvicursor – was more solidly built, with a far shorter tail.”
Full details of the findings have been made available in PeerJ, a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
Dr. Herne also noted that thanks to the reconstruction of the newly found dino's tail muscles, it most likely had "powerful leg retracting muscles and was most likely a good runner.”
Volunteer George Caspar made the discovery of Diluvicursor pickeringi's skeleton in 2005, but it has taken this long to understand both the geology of the surrounding area, as well as its relationships, Herne said.
“Much of the fossil vertebrate material from this site has yet to be described, so we hope to discover further dinosaur species, specimens and other exciting animals there," Dr. Herne said.
The Melbourne Museum plans to put the specimen on public display.
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