Qantassaurus intrepidus, also known as the two-legged plant-eating elasmarian ornithischian, was a species of small ornithopod from the Early Cretaceous of Victoria. They were named after the Australian airline, Qantas, and are also known as the herbivorous Qantassaurus. They are mainly known for their unusually short, deep lower jaws containing just ten teeth. Found during the Jurassic period, they were a part of a diverse assemblage of small Australian ornithopods who might have belonged to Australian dinosaur species.
This dinosaur species became extinct 115 million years ago and used to live in Australia when the continent was still partly south of the Antarctic Circle. This species of dinosaurs were first described by Patricia Vickers Rich and her husband, Tom Rich, in 1999 near Inverloch. Their fossils can be found in museum galleries around the world.
To read more interesting facts on other dinosaur species, you can also visit these articles on Austroraptor and Orodromeus.
Qantassaurus is pronounced as 'Kwahn-tas-SOR-as.' They are Australian dinosaurs.
The Qantassaurus intrepidus is a type of small ornithopod from the Early Cretaceous of Victoria. These ten-teethed dinosaurs were also fast runners and had small, short, and deep jaw fragments. They came to being very early on in the Jurassic period and became extinct 115 million years ago. No other cranial or postcranial fossils of Qantassaurus have been found.
The Qantassaurus dinosaur (Qantassaurus intrepidus) roamed the earth 115 million years ago. That period is known as the Mesozoic period, where non-bird dinosaurs lived 245-66 million years ago. This was many millions of years ago, before the first modern humans, Homo sapiens, appeared. They used to live in what would now be Australia, near Antarctica when the continent was still partly south of the Antarctic Circle.
Qantassaurus fossils indicate that this species of dinosaurs became extinct around 115 million years ago during the Mesozoic era, a few million years before all dinosaurs became extinct nearly 65 million years ago, marking the end of the Cretaceous Period after spending the lifetime of 165 years on Earth.
They lived near Inverloch (Strzelecki ranges) on the southern Victorian coast, about 93.20 mi (150 km) southeast of Melbourne. Nowadays, crocodiles and reptiles prefer much warmer regions and vegetation. However, according to natural history, Victoria, lying south of the palaeo-Antarctic Circle in the Cretaceous, experienced arctic conditions despite being a much more fertile area of vegetation than it is now. In those times, the area must have experienced the extremes of daylight typical of the polar region.
This species of dinosaurs used to live in Australia, specifically residing in Southern Victoria during the early Cretaceous before a rift valley formed between Antarctica and Australia, causing the two continents to slowly split apart. The community of this species lay south of the palaeo-Antarctic Circle in the Cretaceous period and would have isolated themselves in areas of warm adaptations. They are also known to have survived harsh winters.
Any small ornithopod or community of Qantassaurus who lived in Australia were commonly known for moving and traveling in groups, small herds, or flocks. Their adaptations included spending the colder months of the year underground. Their fossil material was found in Australia, mostly in polar regions.
They became extinct 115 million years ago and they survived on earth for more than 65 years, remaining active during the Mesozoic era. Their fossils were also found in various sites, including Dinosaur Winton in Queensland, Cove in Victoria, and Broome in Western Australia. They were found by Mrs. Nicole Evered in 1996 at the Flat Rocks site (near Inverloch) and were named by Patricia Vickers Rich and Tom Rich in 1999.
There are six different species of the same genus of this dinosaur. They are known only from isolated fossil remains found in Australia, therefore searching for the evolutionary relationship of this genera had proven quite difficult. The Victorian ornithopods were first known as Hypsilophodontidae because of their physical similarities, including their teeth, skull, and lower jaw structure, to the European hypsilophodontids. Therefore, Hypsilophodontidae are currently under revision and are known to be a 'grab bag’ of unrelated species. On the other hand, some other different species, along with that of Fulgurotherium, Leaellynasaura, and Atlascopcosaurus, are currently under review. The Qantassaurus was considered to be a valid species until the relationship of small Australian ornithopods was reviewed.
Qantassaurus images and structures show that their classification can be described as Qantassaurus dinosaurs, a small olive-green ornithopod known only from its lower jaw and teeth. The size of their orbits and the exact length of their tail is not yet known, but all species of small ornithopod have long tails and sharp fragmentary jaws. Their left dentary is short and there are just ten teeth in the cheek region. Other small ornithopods have a greater number of 'cheek' teeth and longer, narrower jaws. They are very similar to Atlascopcosaurus loadsi (amicagraphica), whose left dentary is also long, and Leaellynasaura, which only have five ridges on their 'cheek' teeth and a missing prominent primary ridge. The classification of their teeth is leaf-shaped, short teeth.
Their primary bones are still found in museum galleries and have isolated teeth and bones from which they are basically known. However, the total number of bones present in the Qantassaurus has not been discovered yet.
They are believed to have sometimes made loud sounds while roaming the earth with groups, small herds, and flocks.
These dinosaurs were 70.86 in (180 cm) long and 3.3 ft (1 m) tall, with a long tail and sharp teeth. Their fossil material has been kept in museums for display purposes.
They were estimated to be moderate runners and research found that they used to travel in groups, small herds, and flocks to explore different regions, and could also survive harsh winter. These animals are believed to have had the same moving speed as the famous ostrich.
As per the Qantassaurus skeleton discovered, their weight has been estimated to be around 99.2 lb (45 kg).
There are no particular names used for the male and female of the Qantassaurus dinosaur.
The Qantassaurus baby is not known to have any different name, simply referred to as a baby Qantassaurus.
They were herbivores who mostly survived on eating small, low-growing Early Cretaceous plants such as ferns and horsetails. Leaellynasaura, Atlascopcosaurus (amicagraphica) from Gondwanan, hypsilophodontids of the Hypsilophodontidae family also ate small, low-growing Early Aptian Cretaceous plants.
They are not thought to have been very aggressive. They were fast runners but did not use their speed to catch any prey as they were herbivores.
The Qantassaurus was a fast runner but seldom used its quick feet to hunt any other species.
The Qantassaurus name was derived from the Australian Airline, Qantas. It was named by Vickers Rich and Tom Rich in 1999 and was discovered by Mrs. Nicole Evered in 1996.
The Qantassaurus wildlife was known to live near raided streams and rivers that formed extensive floodplains. Some of the large fossil logs were also found along the Flat Rocks fossil site near Inverloch (Strzelecki ranges) on the southern Victorian coast.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other dinosaurs from our Homalocephale facts and Harpactognathus facts pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Qantassaurus coloring pages.
Second image by Matt Martyniuk.