Wintonotitan wattsi, dubbed ‘Clancy’, after a poem by Banjo Patterson, was a primitive titanosaur-like animal and is one of three new dinosaurs recently named from the Winton Formation in central Queensland
- Anne Musser
- © Anne Musser
What was Wintonotitan?
Wintonotitan wattsi, was an early, titanosaur-like dinosaur and one of three new dinosaurs recently found at Winton in central Queensland.
Wintonotitan and a second titanosaur, Diamantinasaurus matildae, are the first new sauropods from Australia in over 75 years. Wintonotitan was dubbed ‘Clancy’, after a poem by AB 'Banjo' Patterson
What did Wintonotitan look like?
Titanosaurs, the largest land animals known, may have reached 35 metres in length and 100 tonnes in weight. Wintonotitan was small for a titanosaur, at up to 15 metres in length and around 10 to 15 tonnes in weight. Wintonotitan had long front legs (its hind legs have not been found) and was relatively slim for a titanosaur.
Wintonotitan is only distantly related to Diamantinasaurus, also known from the same area, and represents an earlier branch of the titanosaur tree.
What was Australia like when Wintonotitan was alive?
In the middle of the Cretaceous Period, 100 million years ago, Winton was a large river plain. This plain was left behind by the drying up of the inland sea known as the Eromanga Sea. There were large, winding rivers, freshwater pools, billabongs, swamps, lakes and coastal estuaries.
The climate was warm and mild, with distinct seasons and plenty of rain.
Plants included: early flowering plants, conifers, ginkgoes and ferns.
Other dinosaurs around at the same time included Australovenator and Diamantinasaurus.
Huge sauropods - probably other titanosaurs – also lived in Australia at the same time. This is known from large footprints left along the Broome coastline in Western Australia. The largest of these prints is 1.5 metres across.
What did Wintonotitan eat?
Sauropods were plant-eaters (herbivores). The skull and teeth of Wintonotitan have not been found, so its actual diet is unknown. However, it would have been able to choose from conifers, early flowering plants, ginkgoes, cycads, ferns and horsetails.