Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Lower Cretaceous Relict Therapsids

The recent finding by Dr. Sue Turner of dicynodont skull fragments from the upper Albian in the Allaru Mudstone near Hughenden was surprising because the last known dicynodont had been from the Norian, about 225 Ma in the Upper Triassic. The new dicynodont from the Lower Cretaceous was originally found in 1915 but kept in a museum draw at the Queensland Museum until Dr. Turner found it and realised what it was and its significance. It had a number of features that are diagnostic of the group that included tusks that were open-rooted and lacked enamel, dentine layers being stacked in a cone-in-cone arrangement.

The authors suggest that the presence of dicynodonts, as well as temnospondyl amphibians and other anachronistic vertebrates in deposits from the Lower Cretaceous in Australia further supports the belief that the terrestrial faunas of Australia were isolated, possibly by climatic conditions, throughout much of the Mesozoic.

Sources & Further reading

  1. Kear, B.P. & Hamilton-Bruce, R.J., 2011, Dinosaurs in Australia, Mesozoic life from the southern continent, CSIRO Publishing.
Author: M. H. Monroe
Last Updated 16/12/2011



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