Looking back at a time when Tasmania’s ancient reptiles and dinosaurs packed a bite

dinosaur fossil

Before there were dinosaurs, there was Tasmaniosaurus.

Tasmania is not famous for dinosaur digs but despite their absence in the fossil record, Tasmania was home to these creatures and paleontologists can infer what they were like from Victorian fossils.

However, there is evidence of creatures that crawled around the ancient land just before the dawn of the dinosaurs.

Extraordinary fossils of an ancient reptile – Tasmaniosaurus triassicus — were uncovered in Knocklofty Reserve in the suburb of West Hobart and described to the world in 1978.

The ancient reptile lived around 250 million years ago, during the Triassic when Tasmania was part of a supercontinent called Pangea. Knocklofty Reserve is now celebrated for its beautiful eucalyptus, wildflowers and birds – but 250 million years ago, flowering plants and birds were yet to evolve. It was a series of lakes and ponds and waterways.

Tasmaniosaurus looked like a “cross between a dinosaur and a crocodile”, Mr Ziegler, who is the collections manager of vertebrate palaeontology at the Melbourne Museum, said.

Read more about Tasmania’s dinosaurs here!

Adapted from an article written by Zoe Kean.