Qantassaurus is a genus of ornithopod dinosaur from the late Aptian to early Albian age of the Early Cretaceous Period (115 million years ago). It lived in Australia when the continent was still south of the Antarctic Circle, and was still part of the supercontinent Gondwana.
Qantassaurus was discovered in 1996 during the third annual field season of the Dinosaur Dreaming Project, a dig jointly run by Monash University and Museum Victoria. It was found in the intertidal site known as Flat Rocks, in southeastern Victoria. The site is part of the Strzelecki Group of the
Qantassaurus was named by Patricia Vickers-Rich and Tom Rich, in honor of the Queensland and Northern Territory Air Service (QANTAS), which shipped fossils around the country as part of the Great Russian Dinosaurs Exhibit between 1993 and 1996. The dinosaur was also described by Rich and Rich in 1999.
Qantassaurus was probably about 6 feet long and 3 feet tall. It had short thighs and long shins, making it a most likely a fast runner. The feet and claws were made for traction, and the long tail may have helped with turning. It had 12 teeth in its lower jaw, so its face was probably short and stubby. It probably had a beak, with leaf-shaped teeth back in its cheek, which were shed as they wore down, being replaced by new teeth continually.
Studies of the fossil material led scientists to believe the dinosaur had adaptations to survive in cooler conditions, which would have been the case in Australia 115 million years ago, when temperatures hovered around the freezing mark most of the year. Bone growth of related specimens shows they were active all year round, so they did not hibernate in winter. The structure of these bones also suggest warm-bloodedness, which would help maintain body heat.
Qantassaurus was probably a browser, grabbing ferns and other vegetation with its hands, and ran away from predators using its quick legs.