The latest dinosaur to be portrayed on our Australian Age of Dinosaurs silver proof coin series is a bit of a tounge-twister! Its name is pronounced DIA-MAN-TINA-SAW-RUS.
Diamantinasaurus is a titanosaur, a group of plant eating sauropod dinosaurs that existed in the late Cretaceous Period. It lived in the Cenomanian Epoch between 100 and 95 million years ago.
Fossilised limb, rib and girdle remains of Diamantinasaurus were discovered in 2005 near Winton, central Queensland, by a local landowner and recovered from what was once an ancient billabong by the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum. It was described be vertebrate paleontologist Dr. Scott Hocknull and colleagues in 2009.
The dinosaur was nicknamed ‘Matilda’, after Waltzing Matilda, the world famous song by Australian poet Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson – the scientific name Diamantinasaurus matildae meaning Matilda’s Diamantina River lizard.
Matilda was approximately 16 metres long and would have weighed about 20 tonnes. The skeleton is extremely robust with heavy limbs and a thick, dense pelvic girdle. In contrast, the vertebrae in Matilda’s back and long neck are packed with numerous hollow chambers called ‘camerae’, which would have helped reduce its massive weight.
Like many other sauropod dinosaurs, Matilda may have been able to stand on its hind legs, using its tail for support. This would have enabled it to forage on the high reaching vegetation that was prolific at the time, including conifers, ginkgoes, cycads and angiosperms. It is also possible that it was a semi-aquatic animal that wallowed in billabongs, like the one that eventually preserved its fossils.
Struck by The Perth Mint from 1oz of 99.9% pure silver in proof quality, this 2015 coin from the Australian Age of Dinosaurs depicts the Diamantinasaurus matildae set against a prehistoric forest scene.
Issued as Australian legal tender in presentation packaging accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity, no more than 5,000 of these coins will be struck by The Perth Mint.