fossilised bones found to be Australia's largest carnivorous dinosaur?

Feb 15, 2013
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Nowra, south coast NSW
Just saw an article about "Lightning claw: fossilised bones found to be Australia's largest carnivorous dinosaur " I thought that alone was interesting, but then i saw who the researcher was. I was lucky enough to have Dr Phil Bell give us a lecture on Paleontology whilst I was up there for my geol120, was very interesting person to chat with.

The story is from here:

Australias largest carnivorous dinosaur, dubbed lightning claw due to its terrifyingly large talons, has been identified from fossilised bones found in opal in the New South Wales outback.

The dinosaur would have been around 7m in length larger than the Australovenator, a dinosaur found in Queensland that was previously thought to be Australias largest meat-eating ancient beast.

A 25cm claw, part of a forearm, a metatarsal, a rib and parts of a hip and lower leg were discovered by opal miners and handed over to researchers in 2005.

The remains, found near the NSW town of Lightning Ridge, have finally been identified as a new type of dinosaur by a team led by palaeontologist Dr Phil Bell, of the University of New England.

When I first saw the bones I knew they were important and unique but its taken until now to do all our comparisons and find out this is a new dinosaur to science, Bell told Guardian Australia.

It was obviously a predator but the key thing about this guy is the giant claws on its hands. These claws compensate for a rather dainty skull and slender jaws, which are unlike the giant skull of a T-Rex, which had a bone crushing bite.

This dinosaur probably ran down its prey and used its arms like grappling hooks. Its mouth was simply to tear off small pieces of meat.

The remains studied by Bell are around 110m years old. It is thought the lightning claw dinosaur would have been extinct within three to four million years and did not survive to see the mass extinction of dinosaurs 65m years ago.

We dont know what else is out there, whether it faced competition or its environment changed, Bell said. It certainly wouldve been replaced by something equally fearsome and equally large, we just havent found it yet.

Bell said Australia is something of an enigma to dinosaur-hunting palaeontologists. The continent is covered in rocks older than the time of the dinosaurs meaning there are few spots to find remains Lightning Ridge is the only place in New South Wales where dinosaur fossils can be found.

We get tantalising glimpses into ancient ecosystems but theres certainly new discoveries to be found, Bell said. Having a big scary predator dinosaur on your desk is certainly quite nice.

The study has been published in Gondwana Research


May 22, 2014
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Katazone, VIC
Always great to hear about new (ish) or finds we didn't know of. I think I've heard of a few fossils coming from over there correct? Or opalised fossils

Would be good to have a little human in thier image of the dino for scale reference. Good find shivan
Apr 29, 2013
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Central Coast NSW
Cool post Shivan, cheers. A few pics of the actual fossils would have been nice. Norton gave me a big warning when trying access the "Gondwana Research" website too, said it was a known computer risk.
Dec 16, 2013
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shivan said:
Yes shame about no pics, interesting Norton flagged the site, I have had no warning from Avast and no problem on the site.

Using Norton also. Never saw any warning :/

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