Tuesday, December 18

Dinosaurs in Australia

Until quite recently, finds of dinosaurs in Australia have been few and far between. The first find of an Australian dinosaur was a partial skeleton found on Cape York. Later named Agrosaurus, this small plant-eater from the Triassic period was found during an exploration of the area by HMS Fly. A large claw of a meat-eating dinosaur was found near Inverloch, Victoria around the turn of the Century and bones of a long-necked sauropod dinosaur, Rhoetosaurus, were found near Roma in Queensland in the 1930s. Other dinosaurs include a plant-eater similar to Iguanodon that was later named Muttaburrasaurus and a small armoured dinosaur named Minmi. It was not until the 1980s and 1990s that significant numbers of dinosaurs began to be excavated from Australia.  You can read more by clicking here…http://www.abc.net.au/dinosaurs/meet_the_dinos/ozdino1.htm…...

In Australia the term "megafauna" is applied to these large animals which generally have at least a 30% greater body mass compared to what might be considered their closest living relatives. More recent discoveries have found evidence these large animal species suddenly became extinct around 48,000 to 60,000 years ago. The reasons for this extinction are hotly debated but there exists a compelling hypothesis it coincided with the first arrival of humans whose use of fire and hunting caused their rapid demise.

The human factor is gaining new traction since the use of optically stimulated luminescence and uranium-thorium dating of the teeth or the remains indicates very similar climatic conditions then to what exists today. Climatic changes are very unlikely to have been the causes for their rapid extinction.

Australia today still has one of the largest rates of species extinction in the world but as a nation we are becoming much more aware and active in preserving our habitation with other species for future generations. 
It is indeed a good lesson to show just how easy it is for us - the human species to wipe out another in the space of just a few thousand years.