Dinosaurs of the South Pacific

The first proof that dinosaurs lived on remote South Pacific Islands has been revealed by Dr Jeffrey Stilwell of Monash University, Melbourne. Stilwell, who trained at Otago University under NZ’s leading palaeontologist Ewan Fordyce, has discovered a 2km-long pocket of dinosaur bones on the Chatham Islands. These include at least three kinds of carnivorous and herbivorous dinosaur, one kind of flying reptile and marine reptiles such as mosasaurs and elasmosaurs. “Prior to our discoveries, only a few isolated examples of dinosaur fossils had been found in the northern part of NZ,” says Stilwell. “Now we’ve found dinosaur remains almost 1000 kilometres east out in the middle of the South Pacific. [The dinosaurs] were on their own evolutionary path for probably 15 million years since the separation of the Chathams-NZ region some 85-80 million years ago. No one had even hypothesised that there were any fossils out that far.”

Tags: ABC News  Chatham Islands  dinosaurs  Ewan Fordyce  Jeffery Stilwell (Dr)  Melbourne  Monash University  New Zealand  palaeontology  South Pacific Islands  University of Otago