"This is a fantastic beast. Imagine something the size of a basketball court walking around on land," says Scott Hocknall, part of a team of paleontologists that confirmed the discovery of the biggest dinosaur ever found in Australia. Australotitan cooperensis was between 80 and 100 feet long and up to 21 feet tall at the hip, researchers say. That makes it almost twice the size of T. Rex, though Australotitan, like other sauropods, ate plants, NPR notes. Its bones were first found in 2004 after 14-year-old Sandy Mackenzie spotted what he at first thought was an unusual rock on his family's Outback farm. The dinosaur was named after nearby Cooper Creek. Researchers used new 3D scanning technology to compare its bones with others in museums around the world and confirm it is a new species.
Robyn Mackenzie, Sandy's mother, is now a paleontologist. She says the new titanosaur is among the biggest five dinosaurs even found and is the first Australian dinosaur to join the "elite group of dinosaur giants that until now have mostly been found in South America," the Washington Post reports. When it lived around 95 million years ago, the part of Queensland where the fossil was found was part of Antarctica, meaning it is likely Antarctica's biggest dinosaur as well. More finds in the region are still being researched. The area "represents a sauropod pathway, where the dinosaurs walked along trampling mud and bones into the soft ground," says Hocknull, per the Queensland Museum. (Read more dinosaurs stories.)