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New South Wales outback as seen from Distant Journeys tours to Australia

Fossilised bones found to belong to Lightning Claw: Australia’s largest dinosaur

Fossilised bones found to belong to Lightning Claw: Australia’s largest dinosaur

Fossilised bones found in the New South Wales outback some ten years ago have finally been identified as the largest carnivorous dinosaur in Australia, which roamed the land over 100 million years ago.

Dubbed Lightning Claw due to its ferocious looking talons, the dinosaur would have been around 7 metres long, and is much larger than the Australovenator found in Queensland at an earlier date, which was previously thought to be the largest meat-eating prehistoric beast in Australia.

Opal miners handed over the bones to researchers in 2005, which included a 25cm claw, forearm section, metatarsal (or toe), a rib and parts of the hip and lower leg.

It is after ten years of research and study that the bones have finally been identified as a type of dinosaur, which is brand new to science, at the University of New England. The giant claws are said to compensate for a small, fragile skull and jaw, meaning the dinosaur likely chased down its prey, using its arms like grappling hooks and used the mouth to tear off small chunks of meat.

It is thought the dinosaur would have been extinct within three to four millions years of existing, and would not have survived the mass extinction of dinosaurs, which took place 65 million years ago. This had led to scientists believing it was replaced by something much more fearsome that they are yet to discover!

Australia is home to rocks which are even older than the time of dinosaurs, meaning there is a wealth of history still yet to be discovered. If you would like to learn more about the history of the continent for yourself, why not book yourself in to one of our tours to Australia?

 

Photo courtesy of Mark Marathon under Creative Commons

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