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FAQs About Dinosaurs

What is the difference between megafauna fossils and dinosaur fossils?

Dinosaurs are reptiles that went extinct 64 million years ago. They grew to gigantic sizes.  They lived in a time when Australia was a very different place to what it is today, and part of the ancient landmass called Gondwana. The Eromanga dinosaurs are estimated to be 95-98 million years old and lived during the late Cretaceous.

Megafauna are the group of animals that evolved after the dinosaurs died.  They were very large marsupials, reptiles and flightless birds and went extinct about 20,000 years ago.  Some of their descendants still exist today in much smaller forms such as kangaroos, wombats, komodo dragons and crocodiles.  The Eulo megafauna lived during Pleistocene approximately 50,000 to 100,000 years ago. 


Why do the Eromanga dinosaurs and the Eulo Diprotodon (Megafauna) have common names like Cooper, George, Sid, Zac and Kenny?

These are identifying names we give a new important dinosaur or megafauna discovery so we know which individual we are talking about. In many cases with the dinosaurs they will be scientifically described as completely new dinosaurs and then they are given a special scientific name.  If they are not a new species then they will already have a special scientific name.  ‘Kenny’ has a scientific name already, Diprotondon optatum.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Holotype?

A holotype is a valuable original specimen that describes a new species.  It is a term used to describe a specimen that is the first known of its kind anywhere in the world.  A holotype can be any type of fossil, and it serves as the name-bearer of the species.  Even if a better specimen is found, the holotype is not superseded.  These are rare and exciting discoveries, which help fill important gaps in the fossil record. 

Every animal and plant that is scientifically described is represented by a holotype.  If a scientist wishes to study the unique traits of a species, it is usually the holotype specimen they study.  The holotypes are the crown jewels of any museum collection.  These priceless specimens need to be stored and conserved at standards that meet the Code of International Zoological Nomenclature.


 
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