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

12:55  07 december  2018
12:55  07 december  2018 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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A new species of dinosaur has been discovered after a “supremely rare” fragment of jawbone fossilised in glittering opal was found among a bucket of rejected shards from an opal mine in Australia. The fossil is from a dog - sized reptile, which lived in the Cretaceous Period, about 100

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

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Learn how scientists uncovered the first dinosaur bones in the 1800s, and how excitement grew in the 1900s as more fossils were unearthed. Later, in 1822, large teeth discovered in England by Mary Ann Mantell and her husband, Gideon, were thought to be the remains of a huge and extinct iguana.

The opalized dinosaur bone belonged to a small prehistoric reptile about the size of a dog and is the first For opal buyer Mike Poben, a trip to Australia’s Wee Warra opal field yielded a dazzling find — in Its unique beauty is rendered all the more significant given that it led to the discovery of a new

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.

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Australian miners uncovered the gem of a find — a dog - size herbivore named Weewarrasaurus But dinosaur fossils are found here only rarely, so Bell says it is miraculous to have uncovered a fossilized jaw with teeth. The fossil was found in 2013 by Adelaide-based opal dealer Mike Poben

For decades a fossilized carnivore jawbone sat largely unnoticed in a drawer at Chicago’s Field Museum. Now the scientist who grew curious when But the types of beardogs he knew were much larger predators that were the size of a bear and once roamed parts of North America, Europe, Asia

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.'

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

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