Cut opals from Coober Pedy and Andamooka in South Australia, and Lightning Ridge in New South Wales, Australia (Getty Images)

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Opal Fossils Lead to Discovery of New Dinosaur

The find has been called “a gem.”

The discovery of a new dog-sized dinosaur species is being called a “gem of a find” by National Geographic, which first reported the story.

The fossils — which, remarkably are made from opal, as described in the journal PeerJ — belong to a newly named dinosaur Weewarrasaurus pobeni, a plant-eater.

The ancient remains were unearthed in a mine in Wee Warra, a bone’s throw from the Australian outback community of Lightning Ridge.  Researchers believe the species was roughly “the size of a Labrador retriever, walked on its hind legs and had both a beak and teeth for nibbling vegetation,” Nat Geo notes.

Scientists think Weewarrasaurus resembles canines in another way: It is theorized that they moved in groups or herds in the interest of protection. It joins a growing roster of Australian dinosaurs. Indeed, while there are fewer than 20, four new species have been found since 2015.

Read the Full Story at National Geographic