New dinosaur find fit for a Spielberg spectacular
AN "extremely rare" discovery of bones belonging to a dinosaur resembling the velociraptors from the Jurassic Park movies have been found in western Queensland.
More than 20 identifiable bones along with about 300 smaller fragments from the largest theropod dinosaur were discovered on a cattle property just outside of central Queensland in Winton.
The bones, including a large amount of teeth, were found to be from a theropod reptile, part of the largely carnivorous dinosaur group which includes the Velociraptor and Tyrannosaurus rex.
Lead researcher Palaeontologist Dr Matt White said the findings suggest the dinosaurs could be about two metres tall and between five to seven metres long and likened their appearance to "velociraptors from the Jurassic Park movie".
"They're similar … except the claws aren't on their feet, they're on their hands," he said.
The fossil findings closely resemble an Australovenator wintonensis found less than two kilometres away in 2006, as the most recent finding reinforces a strong indication made by Palaeontologists.
"This reinforces an idea we already had, that across Australia dominant predator dinosaurs were theropods," Dr Poropat said.
"It also reinforces that theropods were doing really well surviving in the southern hemisphere"
Palaeontologist Dr Stephen Poropat said the bones "didn't look like much" when they were originally looked at but open up a whole new world of knowledge for scientists.
"We now know this dinosaur can be found isolated, every other time a theropod has been found it's been found with another dinosaur," Dr Poropat said.
Dr White said each fragment found, no matter how small, is "incredibly significant" as they all add to "parts of a puzzle".
"I got quite excited because we started to find the distal elements of bones that resembled a theropod … extremely rare," Dr White said.
"This gives us greater knowledge and better understanding of our ecosystem".
The study took over a year and a half to complete, after the fossils were discovered back in mid-2017 and queried important by Grazier Bob Elliott on the private property.
"These interested and knowledgeable graziers alert us when they find fossils on their properties … and continue to make these amazing discoveries and help Palaeontology progress," Dr Poropat said.
The Australian finding hasn't just benefited scientists as the fossils are expected to continually benefit Queensland's tourism,after dinosaur history won the Queensland Tourism Industry Council's Major Tourist Attraction award last year.
"Dinosaurs are a major attraction, they have never gone out of fashion … people have always been fascinated by dinosaurs," QTIC Chief Executive Daniel Gschwind said.
"The latest findings just add to our impressive collection".