According to paleontologists, a giant dinosaur discovered on the outskirts of Australia has been identified as a new species and recognized as one of the largest to roam the earth.
Australotitan coperensis, part of the titanosaur family that lived about 100 million years ago, is finally named and described 15 years after its bones were first uncovered.
It is estimated to have been 5–6.5 m (16–21 ft) high and 25–30 m (82–98 ft) long – which would make it Australia's largest dinosaur.
"Based on a comparison of the size of the preserved limbs, this new titanosaur is estimated to be among the top five largest in the world," said Robyn McKenzie, director of the Eromanga Natural History Museum.
The fossilized bones were found in 2006 at Mackenzie's family farm in the Eromanga Basin and nicknamed "Cooper", about 1,000 kilometers (620 mi) west of Brisbane.
Initially kept secret as scientists painstakingly excavated and studied the bones, the skeleton first appeared to the public in 2007.
Scott Hocknull, a paleontologist at the Queensland Museum, said it was a "very long and painstaking task" to confirm that australotin was a new species.
research, which relied on 3D scan models of bones to compare dinosaurs with their close relatives, was published Monday in the peer-reviewed PeerJ journal.
Several other dinosaur skeletons have been found in the same area, Hocknul said, adding that more work was needed because "a discovery like this is just the tip of the iceberg".