Friday, July 3, 2009

Banjo the Australovenator - cool name!

Three new species of dinosaurs were discovered in Australia (probably discovered years ago, but only recently published).

Writing in the journal PLOS One, they describe one of the creatures as a fearsome predator with three large slashing claws on each hand.

The other two were herbivores: one a tall giraffe-like creature, the other of stocky build like a hippopotamus.

The fossils date back nearly 100m years to the middle of the Cretaceous period.

- says BBC news

More data here:

One is a raptor of some sort, and the others are titanosaurs -

Queensland Museum palaeontologist, Scott Hucknell, said the carnivore, Australovenator wintonensis, was even bigger and more terrifying than velociraptor made famous in the Jurassic Park movies.

"The cheetah of his time, Banjo was light and agile. He could run down most prey with ease over open ground," he told reporters.

The dinosaurs have been named after characters in Australia's famous song, Waltzing Matilda.

The carnivore has been named named after Banjo Patterson, who composed Waltzing Matilda in Winton in 1885, the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper explained.

Clancy, Witonotitan wattsi, was a tall slender animal, while Matilda, Diamantinasaurus matildae, was more stocky and hippo-like.

These two plant-eating, four-legged sauropod species are new types of titanosaurs - the largest animals ever to walk the earth.

Banjo and Matilda - possibly predator and his prey - were found buried together in a 98m year old billabong, or stagnant pond.

Nice, eh?

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