It is fitting as we celebrate the 2019 International Year for Indigenous Languages that a new species of dinosaur has been given an Aboriginal name.

13 August 2019

A report in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology revealed the name of the 100 million year fossilised dinosaur skeleton, discovered in an opal mine in Lightning Ridge, New South Wales.

The two-part title – Fostoria dhimbangunmal – recognises the man who discovered the fossil, opal miner Bob Foster, and his wife Jenny, a Gamilaraay woman.

Dhimbangunmal is the Yuwaalaraay word for ‘sheep yard’, the local name for the site where the fossils were found.

Bob Foster made his discovery 35 years ago in a piece of rock he nearly destroyed while looking for opal. But it wasn’t until 2015 that scientists took a closer look and determined that it was in fact the skeleton of a new dinosaur species.

Phil Bell, a palaeontologist at the University of New England and the lead researcher on the study that determined the new species, told ABC Radio National that it was ‘the most complete fossilised skeleton of a dinosaur anywhere in the world’.

Fostoria dhimbangunmal – who was a medium to large 7 to 8 metre long plant eater – is one of the great discoveries being celebrated during National Science Week.

Image courtesy of James Kuether.

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