Fossil find initiates new chapter in the history of dinosaurs

London: Paleontologists in Australia have unearthed the fossils of a neck vertebrae species previously believed to live only in the northern hemisphere.

The remains of the neck vertebrae found in Victoria is identical to that of a Baryonyx, a fish-eating beast from the Spinosaurid family that was larger than a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

The finding, according to the researchers, threatens to destroy the notion that dinosaurs from the spinosaurid family lived only in the northern hemisphere, the Daily Mail reported.

Spinosaurid dinosaurs such as the Baryonyx had a small skull with a crocodile-like snout, walked on two legs and and preyed on fish and small animals.

They were believed to live mainly in the northern hemisphere, a theory confirmed by the discovery of a Baryonyx fossil near Dorking in Surrey in 1983.

But the discovery on the Australian coast is identical to the 1983 Surrey fossil, which means scientists are starting to believe the meat-eating dinosaurs lived around planet.

Lead researcher Paul Barrett, Natural History Museum dinosaur expert, said: "The new fossil is the first example of a spinosaurid dinosaur from Australia. It`s almost identical to the Natural History Museum`s own Baryonyx specimen from England."

The find and other discoveries including that of a Tyrannosaurus Rex in Australia mean that the classification of dinosaurs according to which species lived on northern and southern continents looks incorrect, he said.

"They are showing that many of the dinosaurs that we used to think of as distinctively `northern` or `southern` in character were much more widespread during this particular period of Earth history," he said.