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Diamantinasaurus matildae, named after the song 'Waltzing Matilda', was a dinosaur belonging to Queensland, Australia. Belonging to the Titanosauria clade, this member was named and described by Scott Hocknull and others. It belonged to the early Late Cretaceous era. Its fossil remains included bones from the sternal plate, limbs, shoulder, ribs, and so on. However, a complete skull has not yet been recovered.
The classification of Diamantinasaurus places it in the clade Lithostrotia, which features relatively smaller titanosaurs along with the giant ones. This placement is supported by the fact that the length of a Diamantinasaurus was between 49-52 ft (15-16 m), while titanosaurian dinosaurs like Puertasaurus grew up to 98 ft (30 m). The unique feature of this dinosaur was the presence of a thumb claw. It was herbivorous in nature and lived on plants like conifers and ferns. The remains of this fascinating creature are currently kept at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History, which is located in Queensland, Australia.
The Diamantinasaurus pronunciation is 'Dee-ah-man-teen-ah-sore-us'.
Diamantinasaurus was a sauropod of the early Late Cretaceous. This titanosaurian lithostrotian dinosaur had quite a few unique features. Nicknamed as Matilda after the song 'Waltzing Matilda' by Banjo Paterson, the name of this dinosaur literally translates to 'Diamantina River Lizard'. The naming was done by Scott Hocknull and others.
Diamantinasaurus existed 92-95 million years ago, during the early Late Cretaceous period. Its bones suggest that it was a part of the Cenomanian age of the Late Cretaceous.
Members of the Australian genus Diamantinasaurus became extinct during the Late Cretaceous age itself, as there are no fossil records to suggest otherwise.
The holotype specimen of this dinosaur was collected from Winton in Queensland, Australia. It was excavated from the upper Winton Formation. Hence, these dinosaurs were native to Australia.
The ecological features of the Winton Formation have been well-studied by researchers. The Winton Formation was characterized by siltstones, claystones, and sandstones. These structures were formed 90 million years ago. The environment of this Australian formation has been described to have had freshwater pools, rivers, estuaries, and lakes. The climate was subtropical to temperate, which aided in the growth of a wide range of flora, including angiosperms, ferns, and conifers.
The social structural features of the Diamantinasaurus have not been concluded due to a lack of supporting material and evidence. However, the well-studied paleobiology of sauropods has led to the conclusion that members of this group were either solitary or lived in mixed-age herds, depending on the species. Further proof would be required to ascertain how Diamantinansaurus behaved.
Certain data related to the paleobiology of this titanosaurian dinosaur are missing, and one of them is its lifespan. In general, the larger sauropods lived for 70-80 years. Since species D. matildae was relatively smaller, its longevity may have been shorter.
A detailed report related to the reproduction and life history of this dinosaur is yet to be described. However, due to missing preserved reproductive structures, not a lot can be estimated about reproduction in Diamantinasaurus as of now. However, this sauropod was oviparous in nature and so laid eggs. The development of the embryo took place in such eggs. It has been concluded that baby dinosaurs of the sauropod group grew up quite rapidly once they hatched out.
The appearance of this sauropod dinosaur, nicknamed Matilda, has been well-described by paleontologists.
In comparison to titanosaurs, Diamantinasaurus was relatively small in size. The partial skull of this dinosaur indicated that its skull had a downward angle. Similar to other titanosaurs, this animal had a long neck as well, with a stout body that was supported by relatively short and pillar-like legs. Each limb was quite robust in nature. The tail was possibly quite long.
Some of the unique features that were ascertained from the material of the type specimen of this species include the presence of a thumb claw. This characteristic feature is unique to this lithostrotian. Some other unique characters were the presence of flat-shaped distal humeral condyles and reduced metacarpal II.
Due to a lack of a complete skeleton of this Australian sauropod, paleontologists are yet to assume the total number of bones that made up its majestic structure. To date, the bones of this dinosaur to have been discovered include bones from the right scapula or shoulder, right ulna, pelvis, hands, dorsal ribs, right sternal plate, sacral vertebrae, dorsal vertebrae, and a few other places.
Recently, the discovery and subsequent research into a titanosaurian dinosaur called Sarmientosaurus led scientists to discover that the middle ear of this animal was adapted to hearing low-frequency sounds. So, low-frequency sounds may have been a form of communication in those dinosaurs and the related Diamantinasaurus dinosaurs as well.
The Diamantinasaurus size has been recorded. The length of Diamantinasaurus was between 49-52 ft (15-16 m), while its height was between 8.2-9.8 ft (2.5-3 m) till the shoulder. Being a relatively small titanosaur, the collected specimen established that members of this genus were much smaller than the spectacular Patagotitan, with a length of 121 ft (37 m). Patagotitan was also a lithostrotian titanosaur and one of the largest sauropods to walk the Earth.
It has not been possible to ascertain the speed of this robust titanosaurian. However, most sauropods had a maximum speed of 4.5 mph (7.2 kph). So, a similar speed range can be assumed for the Diamantinasaurus matildae.
The estimated weight of Diamantinasaurus is between 16.5-22 T (15000-20000 kg). In comparison to the sauropod dinosaur Argentinosaurus, which was also a lithostrotian species and weighed up to 110 T (100000 kg), D. matildae was several times lighter.
There are no separate names to refer to the male and female sauropods of this Australian genus.
A baby Diamantinasaurus would be known as a hatchling.
Though the specific diet of this sauropod dinosaur is not known, due to lack of dental remains, scientists have made estimates based on the dominant flora of Australia during the Late Cretaceous, when this species existed. The vegetation during that time included angiosperms, conifers, cycads, horsetails, and ferns. So, it is highly likely that Diamantinasaurus fed on those.
Given the herbivorous nature of this dinosaur, they probably weren't aggressive.
The mighty carnivorous Australovenator (nicknamed 'Banjo') was also a dinosaur found in the Winton Formation of Australia. Interestingly, Diamantinasaurus dinosaurs lived during the same time as Australovenator. This has been further proven by the fact that the bones of both these dinosaurs were found in the same site, intermingled together. Another titanosaurian specimen belonging to Savannasaurus was also found here, drawing the conclusion that all these dinosaurs co-existed.
The scientific name of the dinosaur fossil nicknamed Matilda is Diamantinasaurus matildae. There is an interesting history behind this name, which was given to the sauropod in the year 2009 by Scott Hocknull and others. The genus name 'Diamantinasaurus' translates to 'Diamantina River Lizard'. This was used because the Diamantina River was a part of the habitat where the remains of the Diamantinasaurus skeleton were recovered in Winton, Australia. The specific name 'matildae' was given in reference to a song, 'Waltzing Matilda'. The song was composed in Winton by Banjo Paterson.
Diamantinasaurus dinosaurs had long necks, just like other sauropods. Currently, researchers have provided three theories that explain why these dinosaurs had such long necks.
The first hypothesis suggests the long necks aided the animals in reaching leaves positioned at a higher elevation, similar to how giraffes use their necks. They may have also used their long necks to sweep vegetation from side to side.
The second theory, which lacks evidence, upholds the idea that the long necks were sexually attractive, and hence, evolution led to the dominance of sauropods with long necks.
Lastly, the neck vertebrae in the sauropod called Apatosaurus have led scientists to believe that the long necks may have been used in combat.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Heterodontosaurus facts, or Chilantaisaurus facts for kids.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable connect the dots dinosaur coloring pages.
Image one by T. Tischler, Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History.
Image two by Stephen F. Poropat, Philip D. Mannion, Paul Upchurch, Scott A. Hocknull, Benjamin P. Kear, Martin Kundrát, Travis R. Tischler, Trish Sloan, George H. K. Sinapius, Judy A. Elliott & David A. Elliott.
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