A DINOSAUR the size of a kelpie has been uncovered in Lightning Ridge.
The Weewarrasaurus pobeni is the first ancient creature in the state to be given a scientific name in almost a century, researched by University of New England palaeontologist Dr Phil Bell.
The lower jaw was discovered in a bucket of opal rubble near Lightning Ridge by opal buyer Mike Poben.
“I remember Mike showing me the specimen and my jaw dropped. I had to try hard to contain my excitement, it was so beautiful,” Dr Bell said.
“If these fossils were in surface rock, like those found in China and Mongolia, it would be an absolute treasure-trove,” he said.
The lower jaw bone is around 100 million years old and scientists have determined it belonged to a two-legged herbivorous dinosaur.
The species is an ornithopod dinosaur that was abundant on the region’s ancient floodplains millions of years ago and Lightning Ridge is the only place in the world where dinosaur bones routinely turn to opal.