Outback Dinos

Outback Dinosaurs

Cretaceous Period III

Dinosaurs flourish across the vast floodplains that quickly fill the remnants of the Eromanga Sea. Herds of small dinosaurs move across these floodplains leaving thousands of footprints. Sauropod dinosaurs evolve to take advantage of the lush wetlands, becoming Australia’s largest-ever land animals.

Remains of fossil leaves, wood and pollen allow us to reconstruct the vegetation of the Winton area during the Cretaceous Period. The flora includes many species of plants including flowering plants, conifers and ferns. Palaeobotanists can trace the origins of Australia's modern flora to this time.Living amongst the dinosaurs were other types of reptiles. In the rivers and streams swam crocodiles and primitive aquatic lizards. The skies were dominated by a variety of flying reptiles called pterosaurs.

Fossilised skeletons are not the only evidence for the existence of dinosaurs. Fossilised footprints have also been found. Dinosaurs left impressions in what was once mud but is now rock. Fossil footprints give palaeontologists vital clues to what types of dinosaurs lived together, their body size, speed, social and feeding behaviours.  

Queensland is home to one of the largest concentrations of dinosaur footprints found anywhere on Earth. At the Dinosaur Stampede National Monument (Lark Quarry), over 3000 footprints are found, made by over a hundred and thirty small dinosaurs. Palaeontologists are still investigating how and why these footprints formed.

Lark Quarry, 93 million years ago. Cold skies
indicate a change in the season. Fields of horsetail plants cover a vast floodplain attracting mixed herds of plant-eating dinosaurs (ornithopods). Moving swiftly together, they move across the open plains in search of safe pasture. A hunting pair of theropods try to intercept a straggling ornithopod but fail. Swarms of insects fill the air attracting tiny theropods to feed. A solitary titanosaur surveys its territory, whilst a small crocodile is startled by the oncoming herd.