A genus of two-legged, plant-eating ornithischian dinosaur that lived in Australia about 115 million years ago, when the continent was still partly south of the Antarctic Circle. It was described by Patricia Vickers-Rich and her husband Tom Rich in 1999 after a find near Inverloch, and named after Qantas, the Australian airline.
Qantassaurus was probably about 1.8 meters (6 feet) long, and about one meter (3 feet) high. If it resembled its relatives, it had short thighs and long shins, and probably was a fast runner. Its feet had claws for traction, and a long tail probably helped with turning, stiffened by ossified tendons. One characteristic of the "Polar Victorian" euornithopods are distinctive spurs, or trochanters, on the upper surface of the thigh bone (or femur), where muscle was attached.
Qantassaurus is only known from jaw fragments. These are foreshortened compared to related species so its face was probably short and stubby. It had ten teeth in each lower jaw. It probably had a beak, and possessed leaf-shaped teeth back in its cheek, which were shed as they wore down, and replaced by new teeth growing up from the jaw. The teeth had eight distinctive vertical ridges on the outer side with a single larger primary ridge in the centre.
Qantassaurus lived 115 million years ago in Australia, during the late Aptian/early Albian age of the early Cretaceous period. At the time, Australia was part of the supercontinent of Gondwana, and partly within the Antarctic Circle, although the significance of polar conditions during the warm Cretaceous were greatly different to conditions in this region today. The average temperature of the region is contentious, with estimates ranging from -6 to well over 5°C (21 to 37 °F). Conditions were likely to be at their coldest during the polar nights, which lasted up to three months.
One interpretation of the fossil material is that small euornithopods had adaptations to survive cooler conditions. Bone growth of presumed related taxa shows they were active all year round, so they did not hibernate through the winter. The structure of these bones also suggests warm-bloodedness, which would help maintain its body heat.
Qantassaurus was probably a browser, who grabbed ferns and other vegetation with its hands, and ran away from predators like a modern gazelle.
Bring your own pen.
Look for the rest of the "Dinosaurs A-Z" series, "cache them all"
Please replace as found so the next person can enjoy the find. Thank you