A rare dinosaur fossil has been uncovered in Australia. The creature known as an Elaphrosaur, means “light-footed lizard”.
The animal is a mixture of the Tyrannosaurus Rex (T-Rex) and a Velociraptor. Also, it is believed to have shifted to a plant-based diet as it grew older.
The Elaphrosaur used to exist almost 110 million years ago. The discovery was first made in 2015 near Cape Otway in Victoria. However, it was unclear what kind of dinosaur fossil they had unearthed.
Uncovering the Elaphrosaur
Dr. Stephen Poropat a paleontologist at the Swinburne University of Technology, and Adele Pentland, co-wrote a paper about the Elaphrosaurs. They first thought the fossil was of a pterosaur, a flying dinosaur. However, after years of research they realized they had been wrong.
In their paper Pentland writes, “Pterosaur neck vertebrae are very distinctive. In all known pterosaurs, the body of the vertebra has a socket at the head end, and a ball or condyle at the body end. This vertebra had sockets at both ends, so it could not have been from a pterosaur.”
Dr. Poropat also adds, “We soon realised that the neck bone we were studying was from a theropod: a meat-eating dinosaur, related to Tyrannosaurus rex, Velociraptor, and modern birds. The only catch – this ‘meat-eating dinosaur’ probably didn’t eat meat!”
The paleontologists describe the Elaphrosaurs as having “long necks, stumpy arms with small hands, and relatively lightly built bodies.”
“As dinosaurs go, they were rather bizarre,” Dr. Stephen Poropat also wrote. “The few known skulls of elaphrosaurs show that the youngsters had teeth, but that the adults lost their teeth and replaced them with a horny beak. We also don’t know if this is true for the Victorian elaphrosaur yet. But we might find out if we ever discover a skull.”
The rare dinosaur fossil was found at a place called Eric the Red West.