EROMANGA, Australia — A new dinosaur species discovered down under is believed to be the largest to ever roam Australia.
The Australotitan cooperensis, nicknamed “the southern titan,” was first discovered in 2007 in southwest Queensland, but the new species was officially named and described on Monday by paleontologists at the Eromanga Natural History Museum.
The museum says the dinosaur is estimated to have reached about 21 feet in height at the hip and around 100 feet in length, making it as long as a basketball court and as tall as a two-story building.
Paleontologists say it took years for them to make sure the dinosaur was a new species. They did so by comparing its bones to the bones of other species from Queensland and around the globe.
“This was a very long and painstaking task,” said Dr. Scott Hocknull, a paleontologist who worked on the project.
The team used digital technology to 3D scan each bone of the dinosaur and compare them to the bones of its closest relatives.
“The 3D scans we created allowed me to carry around thousands of kilos (of) dinosaur bones in a 7 kg laptop. Better yet, we can now share these scans and knowledge online with the world,” Hocknull said.
Scientists learned that the new species was closely related to three other Australian sauropods that lived during the Cretaceous Period, which was about 92-96 million years ago.
Sauropod dinosaurs were herbivores that had very long necks, long tails, small heads, and four thick, pillar-like legs. They are known for their enormous size and the group includes some of the largest animals to ever have lived on land.