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The dinosaur from Down Under: scientists discover new evidence of ‘Australian T-Rex’
SCIENTISTS have discovered evidence of a huge carnivorous dinosaur that was 10 metres in length and roamed the swamps of Australia.
The giant predator is thought to have been a type of carnosaur that was close in size to a T-Rex and left behind fossilised prints that were nearly 80cm wide.
The discovery was made by researchers who studied dinosaur tracks dating from the latter part of the Jurassic Period, between 165 and 151 million-year-ago.
Australia was not previously known to have been home to a giant carnivore, despite beasts like the T-Rex and Giganotosaurus being common in other parts of the world.
Palaeontologist Dr Anthony Romilio, who led the study at the University of Queensland, said: “I’ve always wondered, where were Australia’s big carnivorous dinosaurs? But I think we’ve found them, right here in Queensland.
“The specimens of these gigantic dinosaurs were not fossilised bones, which are the sorts of things that are typically housed at museums.
“Rather, we looked at footprints, which – in Australia – are much more abundant. These tracks were made by dinosaurs walking through the swamp-forests that once occupied much of the landscape of what is now southern Queensland.”
“We estimate these tracks were made by large-bodied carnivorous dinosaurs, some of which were up to three metres high at the hips and probably around 10 metres long.
“To put that into perspective, T. Rex got to about 3.25 metres at the hips and attained lengths of 12 to 13 metres long, but it didn’t appear until 90 million years after our Queensland giants.
“The Queensland tracks were probably made by giant carnosaurs – the group that includes the Allosaurus
“At the time, these were probably some of the largest predatory dinosaurs on the planet.”
The findings are based on a new analysis of tracks originally found 50 years ago on the ceilings of underground coal mines. The research was recently published in the academic journal Historical Biology.
“Finding these fossils has been our way of tracking down the creatures from Australia’s Jurassic Park,” said Dr Romilio.
Most of the tracks used in the study belong to theropods, the same group of dinosaurs that includes Australovenator, Velociraptor, and their modern-day descendants, birds.
Dr Romilio said the larger tracks were clearly not bird tracks.
“Most of these footprints are around 50 to 60 centimetres in length, with some of the really huge tracks measuring nearly 80 centimetres,” he said.
- PHOTO CREDITS – Main image by Capri23auto from Pixabay . Graphic courtesy of University of Queensland.