We know a lot about dinosaurs, but recently there have been more dinosaur discoveries, including entirely new species! We keep learning more as we unearth fossils from the past.
Paleontologists are scientists that study ancient life, from dinosaurs to plants, including insects, fungi and bacteria. Paleontologists identify dozens of new dinosaur species every year, by discovering their fossils, but many dinosaurs that may have lived would not have been fossilized! We will probably never discover all the kinds that existed because they would have needed to be in just the right circumstances for their remains to be findable. Imagine that! Let’s learn more about some of these new dinosaur discoveries.
In Australia, a new dinosaur skeleton was identified, with a body spanning nearly 100 feet! This new species is called Australotitan cooperensis, nicknamed “Cooper” and was the largest dinosaur fossil ever found in Australia. It ate plants, weighed about 70 tons and stood as high as a two-story building! It was first discovered in 2006 but it took almost 15 years for paleontologists and geologists to excavate it and confirm it was a unique species.
Scientists in Canada recently announced a newly identified dinosaur known as Thanatotheristes degrootorum. This new species is 2.5 million years older than its closest relative! It was 26 feet long and a meat-eater, likely preying on large plant-eating dinosaurs. This is the oldest tyrannosaur ever found in the northern North America region.
In August of 2022, a new species of dinosaur was named in Argentina. It took 10 years of excavating small fossils to reconstruct this dinosaur body. It had an armored back, tiny arms and was about the size of a small dog. This new species, the Jakapil kaniukura, walked on two feet, unlike other dinosaurs in its family. It ate plants, with very unusual teeth that were shaped differently in each jaw, indicating they were very good at processing food compared to other members of its family.
Around the same time, another species was announced, with this fossil discovered in Africa. This new species, Mbiresaurus raathi, is the oldest ever found in Africa and is an early ancestor to the famous giant Brachiosaurus. Even though they are related, this ancestor wasn’t nearly as large, it was only about five feet long, and it ran on its back legs. It lived at a time when the ancestors of great sauropods were still small omnivores that had not yet switched to an all-plant diet.
As you can see, new dinosaur discoveries are constantly being made, helping us learn more about prehistoric life!