Scientists have confirmed the discovery of a new dinosaur species, after a chance find in a sheep and cattle farm in Eromanga, Queensland in Australia.
This dinosaur is believed to have been one of the largest ever to have walked the Earth.
Fossils were found on a cattle farm
The fossils were first discovered on Robyn and Stuart Mackenzie's cattle farm.
In 2004, the first dinosaur bone was found when their 14-year-old son spotted an unusual rock on the family property.
The Mackenzie family began looking around and discovered a plethora of fossil sites, some nearly a hundred million years old.
The Eromanga Natural History Museum was founded to house their findings.
Australia is one of the most difficult places in the world to find dinosaurs because the land is mostly flat and lacks mountain ranges and canyons that would help to erode rocks and expose fossils beneath it, said Hocknull, according to New York Times.
Because of this, Hocknull said that farmers play an important role in the discovery of fossils that may be preserved beneath their lands.
For 17 years, experts worked to identify the fossil findings and confirm that it was indeed a newly discovered species of dinosaur.
The new dinosaur species is called Australotitan cooperensis, according to the Queensland Museum Network blog. It's nicknamed "Cooper" after a creek near the site.
It is estimated to have reached a height of five to six and a half metres from the hip, and between 25 to 30 metres in length.
This means that Cooper was as long as a basketball court, and as tall as two-storey house, weighing anywhere between 23,000 to 74,000 kilograms.
Cooper is believed to be a type of long-necked, plant-eating dinosaur, known as a sauropod, that lived in the Cretaceous period around 96 million years ago.
It also belongs to a specific group of dinosaurs called the titanosaurians, the largest known land-dwelling animals to have ever existed.
3D replica of fossils were made for identification
During their dig in Eromanga, scientists found that there were four types of sauropod dinosaurs living in Australia around the same time.
To check if Australotitan was a different species, its bones needed to be compared with the bones of other species found in Queensland and in other Museums around the world.
This was a difficult task as these fossils are fragile and very heavy, and they needed to be transported great distances away to be analysed and compared.
To solve this, the team used new digital technology to capture each bone in a 3-D reconstruction, that made it easier to compare them with bones from other species, which later helped them confirm their discovery.
Top images via Queensland Museum's Facebook page.