Scientists in Australia Find Fossils From Three New Species of Dinosaur

Paleontologist Scott Hocknull studies fossils from one of the newly found plant-eating dinosaurs.
Paleontologist Scott Hocknull studies fossils from one of the newly found plant-eating dinosaurs. (Queensland Museum Via Associated Press)
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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Rare Dinosaur Find Is Made in Australia

-- Scientists in Australia have found fossils from three new species of dinosaur, two long-necked plant-eaters and a large, fierce predator bigger than the well-known velociraptor. The bones are 98 million years old.

It's a huge discovery for researchers in Australia, where no large-scale dinosaur fossils have been found since 1981. Far fewer dinosaurs have been found in Australia than in North America, South America and Africa.

The new meat-eater has been called Australovenator (aw-strah-loh-VEN-a-tor), but has been nicknamed Banjo, after an Australian poet from the Outback. The lead author of the report on the discovery called Banjo fast and vicious, able to run down prey with ease. It had large slashing claws, suggesting it used its arms as weapons, unlike some other meat-eating dinosaurs, such as the T. rex, which had tiny arms. The report calls Banjo "many times bigger and more terrifying" than the velociraptor.

The two long-necked dinosaurs were among the largest to have roamed the Earth. Fossils from two of the dinosaurs were discovered together in a water hole, known in Australia as a billabong.


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