Incredible dinosaur discovery: Herd of opal-encrusted dinos uncovered

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Researchers have discovered the fossilized remains of a herd of dinosaurs in an opal mine in the Australian outback.

The fossils were found in the mine near Lightning Ridge, New South Wales, and include a new dinosaur species as well as the world’s most complete opalized dino, according to experts.

“We initially assumed it was a single skeleton, but when I started looking at some of the bones, I realised that we had four scapulae (shoulder blades) all from different sized animals,” said Dr. Phil Bell, lead researcher from the University of New England in Australia, in a statement.

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The remains were discovered by opal miner Robert Foster in the 1980s and include parts of four skeletons. These include small juvenile dinosaurs and larger creatures, which may have been 16.4 feet in length.

Artist's reconstruction of Fostoria dhimbangunmal. (Image ©James Kuether)

Artist’s reconstruction of Fostoria dhimbangunmal. (Image ©James Kuether)

Recent analysis has shed new light on the discoveries.

Bell said that there are about 60 opalized bones from one adult dinosaur and bones from at least three other animals.

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The new dinosaur has been named Fostoria dhimbangunmal in honor of Foster. The study is published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

One of the fossil vertebrae of Fostoria, preserved in opal. (Photo by Robert A. Smith, courtesy Australian Opal Centre)

One of the fossil vertebrae of Fostoria, preserved in opal. (Photo by Robert A. Smith, courtesy Australian Opal Centre)

Last year Bell and his colleagues named a new small plant-eating dinosaur found at the Lightning Ridge site.

In a separate project, paleontologists in the U.S. recently named a tiny 3-foot-tall relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex.

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A toe bone of Fostoria, preserved in opal. (Photo by Robert A. Smith, courtesy Australian Opal Centre)

A toe bone of Fostoria, preserved in opal. (Photo by Robert A. Smith, courtesy Australian Opal Centre)

In another project, paleontologists recently discovered a new spike-armored dinosaur in Texas. Paleontologists in Canada have also touted the discovery of the world’s largest Tyrannosaurus rex.

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In 2017, vandals wrecked a dinosaur footprint in rock at a renowned paleontology site in Australia.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers



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