STL Science Center

STL Science Center

17 August 2011

Finding Muttaburrasaurus

A lot of names are associated with the 1963 discovery of Muttaburrasaurus. First of all, Muttaburrasurus was found in 1963 at Rosebery Downs Station near the Thomson River outside of Muttaburra in Queensland. The bones were originally found by a rancher named Doug Landon. After contacting the appropriate people, entomologist Edward Dahms and paleontologist Alan Bartholomai came out to extract the bones from the earth and preserve and transport them. The fossils were prepared for study, studied, and described and named by Dr. Bartholomai and Ralph Molnar in a 1981 scientific paper published in a scholarly journal. The dinosaur was given the name of the town near where it was found generically and the discoverer specifically and thus became Muttaburrasaurus langdoni.

The grouping and familial connections of Muttaburrasaurus have been debated, assigned, reassigned, and questioned off and on since 1981. At the moment it resides, in most sources, in the Rhabdodontidae family of ornithopods. Only the lone species of M. langdoni fits into the genus at the moment, but there's never any telling what other skeletons the earth may house.

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