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Meet Cooper: Australia's largest dinosaur confirmed to be as long as a basketball court

By SAAB LARIOSA Published Jun 09, 2021 6:13 pm

A dinosaur discovered in Australia has been identified as a new species and confirmed by the country's Eromanga Natural History Museum (ENHM) as one of the largest ever dinosaurs to roam the Earth.

Identified as the Australotitan cooperensis, with "Cooper" as his nickname, the newly confirmed species is said to have stood at 16 to 21 feet high and measured over 82 to 98 feet in length. For reference, it's about as long as one regulation-size basketball court and as tall as a two-story building.

Aside from its size, the rarity also comes from its Australian point of origin, as the so-called "dinosaur giants" are mostly discovered in South America.

Australotitan cooperensis walk sequence from ENHM on Vimeo.

The dinosaur is a type of giant sauropod, a plant-eating dinosaur subgroup with elongated necks, long tails, and four trunk legs.

Despite being only confirmed recently, Cooper's fossiled bones were actually first discovered back in 2006 and displayed to the public in 2007. Paleontologist Scott Hocknull said that it was a "very long and painstaking task" involving 3D scan models of Cooper's dinosaur relatives to confirm that the behemoth was indeed a new species.

The dinosaur's pelvic bones, shoulder blades, and limbs were still mostly intact, but the confirming of species took some time due to the logistics involved in moving Cooper's massive bones.

"The findings have put Australia on the map, and allowed Australia to join other countries making strides in paleontology," shared ENHM's Robyn Mackenzie

Other dinosaur fossils have also been discovered in the same area as Cooper's, with researchers furthering that  "this is just the tip of the iceberg for discoveries in Australia. It has opened up a whole new dinosaur frontier."

Researchers from the Eromanga Natural History Museum happily show off Cooper.

The dinosaur's pelvic bones, shoulder blades, and limbs were still mostly intact.

Banner photo from Eromanga Natural History Museum / Vlad Konstantinov