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Australia’s largest discovered dinosaur to go on display at new Eromanga Natural History Museum

Australia’s largest discovered dinosaur to go on display at new Eromanga Natural History Museum
July 22, 2015

Australia's largest dinosaur ever to be discovered is set to go on display to the public with the opening of the Eromanga Natural History Museum in the coming months.

The dinosaur, nicknamed Cooper, was discovered on the outskirts of Eromanga, in south-west Queensland in 2007.

It is set to be officially recognised as a new species; complete with a new scientific name by early next year.

That revelation alone could draw scientists and tourists from around the world to the remote town's new museum.

Queensland Museum Paleontologist Dr Scott Hocknull is currently working on the scientific paper with a small team of scientists.

Dr Hocknull said without the help of the community, the project would never have happened, telling the ABC “the opportunity for this small town to actually become a point of real national pride, there's a great opportunity that we can't miss.”

Several other dinosaur fossil sites have been discovered scattered across the Eromanga basin since 2004.

Dr Hocknull said the world needs to hear about them, adding “every fossil you find out in the west, in south-west Queensland in particular now, we had no idea about any dinosaurs or any fossils really until about 2004."

"I don't think you'd find anywhere else in Australia where such a small community has contributed so much to something which is so nationally significant."

Construction of the Eromanga Natural History Museum began about a year ago after almost 10 years of planning, with Quilpie Shire Mayor Stuart Mackenzie driving the project with his wife, Robyn.

Locals have given about $1 million of in-kind donations including equipment hire and volunteering for the project.

Cooper, which is thought to have lived in the Cretaceous period, will go on display with at least four other similar Titanosaurs including George, Sid, Zac, and Tom.

Both Cooper and Sid are believed to have been trapped in mud before they died and both fossils display evidence of being trampled on by other Titanosaurs.

The site of inland sea 100 million years ago, the vast floodplains left behind as the waters receded came to accumulate dinosaur bones. Fossil fragments were found in Central Queensland as early as the 1920s, but it is only this decade that momentous discoveries of uniquely Australian species of dinosaur have been made. These concentrated bone beds are now considered equal to any major dinosaur quarry in the world.

The Federal Government has been approached for support to develop the next stage of the museum and turn it into an even bigger attraction.

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