Article | Updated 10 years ago

Muttaburrasaurus illustration

Image Peter Schouten

Although all Cretaceous dinosaurs (except for some birds) lived on land, skeletons of some species have only been found in marine rocks.

This dinosaur is known from the discovery of a fairly complete skeleton, which is unlike most other Cretaceous dinosaur finds from Australia. The skeleton was found in 1963 near the town of Muttaburra in central Queensland. Muttaburrasaurus was quite large, measuring about 7 metres in length. It walked on all fours when feeding on understorey vegetation but ran on two legs. The bony bump on its snout may be related to how it made calls or its sense of smell.

(105 million years ago)

NORTHERN AUSTRALIA 105 million years ago

Marine finds

The original skeleton was found in rocks that formed in a marine environment about 105–103 million years ago. Two additional skulls, which may belong to a different species of Muttaburrasaurus, have also been found in slightly older marine rocks. This does not mean that Muttaburrasaurus was an aquatic animal, but reflects the fact that shallow seas covered much of eastern Australia at this time. Occasionally, a bloated carcass of a dinosaur would wash out to sea and float around for days.

Beaked mouth

Though this dinosaur had no front teeth, this part of its upper and lower jaws were sheathed with keratin that formed a beak. Muttaburrasaurus did have back teeth and they were tightly packed, forming two continuous shearing blades on each side of the jaw. This allowed it to eat tough plant material.

Skull of the North American iguanodontid

Skull of the North American iguanodontid Saurolophus osborni with the front end of the snout developed into a toothless beak.
Image copyright Didier Descouens


Muttaburrasaurus stands 1.5x as tall as a human

Muttaburrasaurus langdoni


Diet Plants
Height 2.3m
Lenght 7.5m
Width 1.2m