July 6, 2009—A "terrifying" raptor-like dinosaur roamed what is now Australia's outback about 98 million years ago, newfound fossils show.
© 2009 National Geographic (AP)
Scientists have confirmed for the first time that Australia was once home to a theropod dinosaur that was big, fast and terrifying, not unlike the Velociraptor, featured in the movie, Jurassic Park.
It was an 1,100 pound meat-eating predator with three slashing claws on each of its powerful forelimbs, and its believed to have stalked the land that is now Australia 98 (m) million years ago.
Fossilized remnants of its limb bones, ribs, jaw and fangs were found along with bones of two newly discovered species of long-necked herbivore dinosaurs. Those dinosaurs each weighed up to 17 and 22 tons.
Their remains have been found in Australias state of Queensland, the first such find in nearly 30 years.
The bones of all three are on display--two at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History in Winton, and the third at Queensland Museum in Brisbane.
SOUNDBITE: (English) David Elliott, Chairman, Australian Age of Dinosaurs, Ltd.: "The announcement of one new Australian dinosaur is world news. The announcement of three new Australian dinosaurs is out of this world."
The two gigantic 52-foot (16-meter) long plant-eating sauropods, were until now unknown types of titanosaur, the largest dinosaurs that ever lived.
All three lived in the mid-Cretaceous period. The Cretaceous period extended from 145 (m) million years to 65 (m) million years ago.
The discovery was analyzed in a report published in the science journal PLoS ONE, the online site of the Public Library of Science.
Its the first substantial find of large dinosaurs in Australia to be revealed in 28 years.