An Ultimate Guide to Muttaburrasaurus: Reptile of Muttaburra

Leave a comment / / Updated on: 23rd September 2023

Name Meaning“Big Nose Dinosau”rHeight3-4 meters (10-13 feet)
Pronunciationmuh-tuh-buh-RUH-sawr-uhsLength7–9 meters (23–30 feet)
EraMesozoicEarly CretaceousWeight2–3 tons (4,000-6,000 pounds)
ClassificationDinosauria,‭ Ornithischia & OrnithopodaLocationQueensland (Australia)

Muttaburrasaurus Pictures

Muttaburrasaurus is an Early Cretaceous Australian ornithopod dinosaur
Muttaburrasaurus is an Early Cretaceous Australian ornithopod dinosaur | Steamblust via Jurassic World Evolution Wiki

The Muttaburrasaurus

Gage Beasley Prehistoric's Muttaburrasaurus Concept
Gage Beasley Prehistoric’s Muttaburrasaurus Concept

The Early Cretaceous era, some 100 million years ago, was the heyday of Muttaburrasaurus, the community mascot lizard of Muttaburra, Australia.

This herbivorous dinosaur, named for the site where it was discovered, has piqued the interest of scientists and enthusiasts alike.

The Muttaburrasaurus, which could grow to an astounding 25 feet in length, was equipped with a thick, sturdy frame, a lengthy tail, and strong, nimble limbs.

Its teeth had been specially adapted to help it process and eat tough plants.

The discovery of Muttaburrasaurus fossils has aided our understanding of the ancient ecosystems and fauna in Australia.

This piece investigates the fascinating world of Muttaburrasaurus, learning about this extraordinary reptile’s build, habits, and the latest findings from the scientific community.

Gage Beasley's Prehistoric Shirt Collection
Gage Beasley’s Prehistoric Shirt Collection
Gage Beasley's Prehistoric Plush Collection
Gage Beasley’s Prehistoric Plush Collection

Physical Characteristics

Illustration of muttaburrasaurus on a white background
Illustration of muttaburrasaurus on a white background |
Nobumichi Tamura via GettyImages

Several of Muttaburrasaurus’ physical features set it out as an interesting and unique dinosaur.

It was a medium-sized dinosaur, measuring up to 25 feet in length, about the same size as a present-day rhinoceros.

Let’s investigate its structure and find out more about its unique characteristics.

Muttaburrasaurus’ distinctive head was one of its most recognizable traits.

Its huge, cubic cranium was mismatched to its body.

The cranium was outfitted with a beak-like muzzle and a prominent, convex crest on top.

Different individuals’ forms of this cranial crest, which is thought to have fulfilled many functions, differed in size and shape.

Gage Beasley Prehistoric's Muttaburrasaurus Size Comparison Chart
Gage Beasley Prehistoric’s Muttaburrasaurus Size Comparison Chart

Some scholars have hypothesized that it was put on display to impress potential mates or intimidate competition.

Some have hypothesized that it contributed to vocalization by improving sound output or reverberation.

Particularly interesting about Muttaburrasaurus were its specialized teeth.

Its powerful jaws housed teeth designed specifically for crushing plant matter.

The dental battery included sets of leaf-shaped teeth grouped tightly together to provide a large grinding area.

This structure suggests a herbivorous diet since it enabled Muttaburrasaurus to easily consume tough plants.

Muttaburrasaurus had a hefty torso with a lengthy, muscular tail.

One of the notable features of Muttaburrasaurus was its distinctively large, broad, and rounded snout
One of the notable features of Muttaburrasaurus was its distinctively large, broad, and rounded snout | Cyrannian via Jurassic World Evolution Wiki

Its powerful limbs suggested that it may have been a bipedal dinosaur that used its hind legs to move.

It is thought, however, that Muttaburrasaurus might be able to stand on all fours, utilizing its arms for balance and support.

Muttaburrasaurus had powerful claws on its forelimbs, which it may have used to grab onto plants or to ward off predators.

Size-wise, Muttaburrasaurus exhibited sexual dimorphism, with males typically being bigger compared to females.

This size disparity raises questions about sexual selection and possible reproductive tactics among members of this species.

It is still unclear what the texture and look of Muttaburrasaurus’ skin is like.

There is no concrete proof from fossils that can tell us anything about their outer appearance.

Muttaburrasaurus in a prehistoric environment during the Early Cretaceous Period
Muttaburrasaurus in a prehistoric environment during the Early Cretaceous Period | Sergey Krasovskiy via GettyImages

Scales or scaly skin like those of current reptiles are a good possibility for Muttaburrasaurus, as they were for several other dinosaurs.

Muttaburrasaurus fossil finds have also shed light on the dinosaur’s evolution.

The fossil record shows that this dinosaur experienced dramatic metamorphosis when it reached adulthood.

Juvenile bones show that their dimensions and facial characteristics differed from those of adults.

These results provide an important context for studying Muttaburrasaurus development and evolution.

Habitat and Distribution

Early Cretaceous era Muttaburrasaurus thrived in ancient Australian habitats around 100 million years ago.

It had a very narrow geographic distribution within the limits of the continent, based on the fossil record.

Fossils of Muttaburrasaurus have been found in sedimentary layers in central Queensland, namely within and near the township of Muttaburra, from which it derives its name.

Warmer than the remainder of the Early Cretaceous, Muttaburrasaurus lived in a region that was heavily vegetated.

It was part of a vast floodplain that was bordered by rivers, lakes, and dense forests.

The availability of plant resources allowed the region to maintain a diverse ecosystem with a wide range of herbivorous and carnivorous dinosaurs.

A muttaburrasaurus walks confidently in a sun-dappled forest, its slender tail swaying with each step
A Muttaburrasaurus walks confidently in a sun-dappled forest, its slender tail swaying with each step | Steamblust via Jurassic World Evolution Wiki

The specific ecological preferences of Muttaburrasaurus are the subject of significant debate and ongoing research.

Given its shape and dental specializations, it probably lived in forested and open woodlands, where it may have acquired a lot of flora to maintain its herbivorous diet.

Muttaburrasaurus could have been near water for drinking and perhaps foraging because of the presence of rivers and lakes in the region.

The discovery of its remains in a narrow location demonstrates that Muttaburrasaurus had a restricted geographic range of dispersion within Australia throughout the period of its life.

It is important to remember that the fossil record is inherently incomplete; therefore, future fossil discoveries may provide light on the distribution.

Behavior and Diet

Three muttaburrasaurus dinosaurs with distinctive crests and robust bodies gather by the serene riverbank
Three Muttaburrasaurus dinosaurs with distinctive crests and robust bodies gather by the serene riverbank | Steamblust via Jurassic World Evolution Wiki

Muttaburrasaurus maintained a quadrupedal posture and strode on four robust legs with its body level with the ground.

Its limbs were presumably well-adapted for walking, and it walked with a sluggish yet consistent stride.

The creature’s long and muscular hind limbs indicate that it was able to execute quick spurts of speed when necessary.

Muttaburrasaurus consumed predominantly foliage and vegetation.

It was a selective browser, grazing on foliage, ferns, and fruits, among other plant parts.

It would have used its beak-like mandible to harvest flora and its adapted canines to break down and crush plant material.

The presence of bony crests on top of its skull is another distinctive feature of muttaburrasaurus
The presence of bony crests on top of its skull is another distinctive feature of Muttaburrasaurus | Cyrannian via Jurassic World Evolution Wiki

Muttaburrasaurus probably used its long neck to seek food in forests and woodlands.

It shared the environment with herbivores like Leaellynasaura and carnivores like Australovenator.

Possible resource competition and avoidance techniques to lower predation risk arose from interactions with these creatures.

Muttaburrasaurus may have lived in isolated communities or maintained social contact.

There is evidence from fossilized trackways that these animals may have engaged in herding, a social activity characterized by coordinated group movement.

Evidence like these suggests that Muttaburrasaurus engaged in social behaviors including migrating and foraging.

Scientists are still trying to figure out what kind of social creatures Muttaburrasaurus was and whether the creatures were, in fact, actually communal.

Defining their social organization with precision is complicated by the scarcity of fossil material. 

Muttaburrasaurus appeared gigantic compared to another dinosaur
Muttaburrasaurus appeared gigantic compared to another dinosaur | Akechetaku via Reddit

Herding behavior, in which individuals of a species establish communities for the purpose of safety from predatory animals, greater foraging efficiency, or sharing scarce resources, has been postulated for Muttaburrasaurus by a number of researchers.

Multiple fossilized skeletons have been discovered at certain locations, lending validity to this theory. 

Furthermore, the fact that males are often bigger than females indicates that there may be an intra-species rivalry for mates.

More study and fossil finds are required to answer questions about Muttaburrasaurus’ social nature and to determine if they were genuinely communal creatures.

Life Cycle

It is generally accepted that Muttaburrasaurus began its life as an egg-laying dinosaur, similar to the majority of other dinosaurs.

There are no preserved eggs of Muttaburrasaurus that are known to exist, but the presence of nesting sites and eggs of dinosaurs that were similar to it in the vicinity suggests that this dinosaur most likely reproduced in a manner that was akin to the other dinosaurs.

The baby Muttaburrasaurus would have gone through a period of rapid development when they emerged from their eggs.

Illustration of Muttaburrasaurus in a white background
Illustration of Muttaburrasaurus in a white background | Cyrannian via Jurassic World Evolution Wiki

When compared to adult skeletons, juvenile skeletons exhibit a number of distinguishable qualities and proportions that are unique to them.

As an adult, Muttaburrasaurus would have reached its full-size potential and developed to the point where it could reproduce.

As a result of sexual dimorphism, which reveals that males are larger than females, there may be behaviors within the species that include courtship and mating.

Whether or not Muttaburrasaurus survived for as long as other dinosaurs depends on a variety of factors, such as the presence of predators, the presence of disease, and the condition of the environment.

The discovery of further fossils and the continuation of existing research may provide additional knowledge about this intriguing species of reptile, including its life cycle and mating behaviors.

Evolution and History

Muttaburrasaurus first entered the annals of paleontology with its discovery in the Queensland outpost of the same name.

The Muttaburrasaurus could walk on all fours or stand on its hind legs
The Muttaburrasaurus could walk on all fours or stand on its hind legs | SandwichCafe via Wikipedia CC BY 2.0

A group of local fossil hunters in 1963 discovered an unusual dinosaur bone.

More digging revealed a nearly complete cranium and other fossilized remains, including skeletal fragments.

In 1981, Australian naturalist Ralph Molnar first documented these fossils and gave them the dinosaur name Muttaburrasaurus.

Muttaburrasaurus is classified as a member of the Rhabdodontomorpha suborder of ornithopod dinosaurs.

Muttaburrasaurus is a divergent lineage within the herbivorous dinosaur group that arose during the Mesozoic Era. 

Specialized tooth structures and cranial elements are only two examples of the ways in which ornithopods’ anatomy morphed and adapted through time.

Muttaburrasaurus may have occasionally moved on all fours, particularly for activities such as feeding or browsing low-lying vegetation
Muttaburrasaurus may have occasionally moved on all fours, particularly for activities such as browsing low-lying vegetation | Mckinneyc via Jurassic World Evolution Wiki

These adaptations let Muttaburrasaurus and its kin thrive in a wide range of habitats. 

There has been a lot of research done on Muttaburrasaurus since it was first discovered.

Paleontologists have studied this creature’s morphology, tooth structure, and other traits to learn more about its evolutionary history and possible behaviors.

The paleoenvironment of Muttaburrasaurus has also been investigated, providing insight into the prehistoric landscapes of Australia throughout the Early Cretaceous.

Furthermore, recent studies have added to our understanding of Muttaburrasaurus.

Insights on its development patterns, physiology, and interactions with other species are emerging through a combination of recent fossil finds, technological advances, and multidisciplinary methods.

Fossilized skeleton of a muttaburrasaurus | Figaro via Wikipedia

Muttaburrasaurus is important outside the realm of science.

It has become a symbol of the field of paleontology in Australia, inspiring people and drawing attention to the country’s extensive ancient past.

Interactions with Other Species

Muttaburrasaurus’ eating habits, habitat use, and social behavior in its environment would have been shaped by its interactions with other organisms, including rivals and possible predators. 

Other ornithopods, such as Iguanodon and lesser sauropods, may have been potential competitors for greenery. 

These dinosaurs likely conflicted for scarce food supplies, which likely included ferns, cycads, and other plants common during the Early Cretaceous. 

A muttaburrasaurus desperately flees from a larger predator, its agile form racing through a prehistoric landscape in a fight for survival
A Muttaburrasaurus desperately flees from a larger predator, its agile form racing through a prehistoric landscape in a fight for survival | Steamblust via Jurassic World Evolution Wiki

Even though it hasn’t been researched thoroughly, huge theropods like Australovenator may have been a threat, especially to juveniles and the sick or injured.

Cultural Significance

Not as many movies or TV shows have focused on this dinosaur species as they have on others, but it has made an appearance here and there.

It was one among the ancient species animatedly shown in the Australian documentary miniseries Australia: First Four Billion Years in the Making.

In 1999, it was featured on the BBC show Walking with Dinosaurs.

Similarly, in 1995’s The Land Before Time III: The Time of the Great Giving, the dinosaur played a major role.

Muttaburrasaurus also makes periodic cameos in the gaming world.

Mounted skull of a Muttaburrasaurus
Mounted skull of a Muttaburrasaurus | Matt Martyniuk via Wikipedia CC BY-SA 4.0

Video games like Jurassic World Evolution include the Muttaburrasaurus as a playable character, giving players a chance to steer and interact with this one-of-a-kind dinosaur.

Even though Muttaburrasaurus isn’t as well-known as other dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus rex or Velociraptor, it’s still great to see it represented in media like documentaries, video games, and the like because it gives people a chance to learn about this fascinating Australian dinosaur.


Australian dinosaur fossils unearthed at Muttaburra have earned the genus Muttaburrasaurus a prominent position in paleontology.

The variety of dinosaurs that existed in the Early Cretaceous is illuminated by this creature’s distinct anatomy, ecosystems, behavior, and evolutionary trajectory.

The secrets of Muttaburrasaurus may be further uncovered by current research and subsequent studies. 

More information on its development, social habits, and how it interacts with its surroundings is anticipated to become available as fossils are discovered, new technologies are developed, and multidisciplinary techniques are implemented.

Furthermore, the use of Muttaburrasaurus in more mainstream media, such as movies, video games, and other entertainment offerings, might assist in spreading knowledge and appreciation of this extraordinary dinosaur.

Even as we learn more about the ancient world, Muttaburrasaurus continues to pique the interest of researchers and laypeople alike.


How did the Muttaburrasaurus die off?

The Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) extinction event is widely accepted as the cause of the disappearance of Muttaburrasaurus and other dinosaurs.

A massive asteroid or comet collision in modern-day Mexico wreaked severe destruction some 66 million years ago.

It caused fires, a shift in the temperature, acid rain, and the emission of contaminants into the air.

Ecosystems were significantly impacted by these occurrences, with flora and fauna being wiped out and food webs breaking down.

Therefore, many species became extinct, including Muttaburrasaurus.

While the specifics are still being investigated, the general belief is that Muttaburrasaurus and other dinosaurs died out because of the K-Pg event’s radical shift in the environment.

How many species does Muttaburrasaurus have?

The genus Muttaburrasaurus has just one known species, Muttaburrasaurus langdoni

However, new data may cause our understanding to shift; therefore, it’s conceivable that Muttaburrasaurus may be split into many species or subspecies in the future.

Where did the Muttaburrasaurs’ specific name come from?

Muttaburrasaurus langdoni takes its name from the Australian fossil enthusiast Doug Langdon, who found the first fossilized remnants of the dinosaur.


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