“What you have here is a Muttaburrasaurus... an ornithopod, or bird-like dinosaur.”
- - Dr. Kajal Dua
Muttaburrasaurus is a genus of ornithopod dinosaur that originated from Early Cretaceous Australia. The sole dig site for the Muttaburrasaurus is the Mackunda Formation, which unlocks for expeditionary teams on Isla Sorna.
Muttaburrasaurus is a very social animal and lives in groups of at least six other individuals to keep it comfortable. It mixes in well with other herbivores.
Muttaburrasaurus is a difficult animal to house due to their herd size requirements. They're more expensive than other hadrosaurine type dinosaurs and slower to produce. This can cause delays in their introduction to an enclosure.
Australia has only a handful of fossil formations containing dinosaurs compared to China or North America, due to the lack of glacial activity that uplifts fossils from lower strata. However, a fair number of dinosaur species have been found. Muttaburrasaurus is a special since it is known from an almost fully complete skeleton.
Originally believed to have been an Iguanodontid, similar to Iguanodon and Ouranosaurus, Muttaburrasaurus is now placed in the Rhabdodontidae family and is currently the largest genus in this family. This branch of ornithopod dinosaurs retained primitive features, such as more pointed teeth designed for slicing plants rather than chewing them down to pulps as seen in other Cretaceous ornithopod families. Members of the Rhabdodontidae family lived in Australia and Europe, which were isolated from other parts of the world, while the more advanced hadrosaurs spread across the Americas and Asia.
Muttaburrasaurus' defining feature is its large hollow nasal cavity. This could've been used to amplify calls for communication. It may've also possessed an inflatable fleshy bag that could be used as a display feature or for intimidating predators. So far two species of Muttaburrasaurus have been found with differently sized nasal cavities. However some palaeontologists consider these to be female and male Muttaburrasaurus, with the male having larger display cavity, while others theorise that the smaller species is a younger specimen.
Muttaburrasaurus is so far the only dinosaur found at the Mackunda Formation, but other Early Cretaceous dinosaur in Queensland include sauropods such as Diamantinasaurus and Wintonotitan, small armoured dinosaurs such as Kunbarrasaurus and Minmi and the predatory theropod Australovenator. At the Dinosaur Cove formation in Victoria to the south, there was also a variety of smaller ornithopods such as Atlascopcosaurus, Leaellynasaura, and Qantassaurus. Australia was within the Antarctic circle during the Early Cretaceous and was at this time, one of the coldest places on Earth, with seasonal warm and very cold periods below freezing. The variety of dinosaurs living in this environment shows that these were highly adaptable animals and possibly warm blooded.
- Both Kunbarrasaurus and Muttaburrasaurus are so far the only Australian dinosaurs known from complete skeletons.
- Muttaburrasaurus is named after the small town of Muttaburra.
- Though depicted as a facultative biped similar to hadrosaurs, paleontologists now believe that Muttaburrasaurus was only able to walk on two legs.
- Muttaburrasaurus is currently the only dinosaur in the game that was found in Australia.
- Muttaburrasaurus was once thought to be an iguanodontid. However, scientists now believe that it was a member of the Rhabdodontidae, another family of ornithopod dinosaurs.
- Muttaburrasaurus appeared in the Inkwell Jurassic Park III Trading Cards alongside Maiasaura, possibly hinting at them being cloned by InGen.
- The base genome, woodland, and taiga skins bear a striking resemblance to the Muttaburrasaurus in Walking with Dinosaurs.
Muttaburrasaurus on Wikipedia