(BRISBANE, Australia – Dec. 8, 2015) It has a parrot-like beak, bones in its skin and an inner ear similar to a turtle. Meet Kunbarrasaurus, Australia’s newest dinosaur. The skeleton of Kunbarrasaurus (koon-ba-rah-sore-rus) was discovered in 1989, but new research involving the 3D reconstruction of the dinosaur’s brain, inner ear and nasal cavities has revealed the dinosaur is a distinctly different species than previously thought.
The reconstruction was completed by Lawrence Witmer, Ph.D., anatomy professor at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, using information from a CT scan done at Mater Adult Hospital in Australia.
“The CT reconstruction revealed that Kunbarrasaurus had a more complicated airway than other dinosaurs, but less so than ankylosaurs from the northern hemisphere,” Witmer said. “The inner ear is proportionately enormous and unlike anything we have seen before in a dinosaur. It looks more like the inner ear of a Tuatara or a turtle. Exactly what the consequences of this are we are still unsure.”
The research on the fossil started in 2007 and was led by University of Queensland experts. You can read more about the discovery on University of Queensland website, in the open access journal PeerJ or view the 3D animation of the skull.