Narration:

In a town called Winton in Central Queensland, three new dinosaurs have been found which are of huge significance to Australia. They’re the most complete dinosaurs officially announced and named in this country for over thirty years.

One of these is Australovenator, and is Australia’s first carnivorous dinosaur, a therapod. We were shown the remains by David Elliot, from the Australian Age of Dinosaurs in Winton.

Ben Kear:

This is the bones we’ve been working, Scott’s about to describe it, what’s the name of this thing, what did it look like?

David Elliott:

Australovenator. Australovenator Wintonensis, the southern hunter from Winton, or Winton southern hunter.

Ben Kear:

Why is it a hunter? What are the bad bits?

David Elliott:

He’s one of the baddest bits, that’s the claw. You can see it’s one of the hand claws, it’s missing about that much. You put a sheath on top, you have to remember this is just the bone out of the middle. It would have been a massive claw. This is on an animal that’s only 10 metres high at the hip. We were looking at those leg bones earlier, to the hip bone that’s only about here…

Ben Kear:

So how long do you think it is?

David Elliott:

Good question, I’m not really sure.

Ben Kear:

Maybe around the seven metre mark, something like that.

David Elliott:

Seven to ten metres, yes. A very fine animal. Scottie Hocknell’s been working on this material for about 12 months, and he’s got a fairly good idea of it, a graceful type on an animal.

This is probably one of the most exciting pieces of all, and there’s the business end of it, missing teeth. This is just the lower jaw and you can see the rows of teeth, we’ve actually got a lot of the teeth but they’re all separate. Some of them are quite well preserved, some aren’t. A row of eighteen teeth there.

It’s a pretty small animal to be hunting giant sauropods, do you think it’s a pack hunter or something?

David Elliott:

I don’t think it would have pulled down a sauropod because you’ve got to remember there’s a lot of small ornithopods running around too and the quarry has evidence of that. It’s quite surprising as well, the foot bones, the claws are beautifully preserved.

Ben Kear:

So do you think finding this next to the carcass of a giant sauropod, was it scavenging?

David Elliott:

Good question, isn’t it? There’s several theories, whether it was killed fighting over the carcass, whether it was washed in there, or whether it just got bogged and stuck there.

Ben Kear:

Fantastic specimen, it’s really been a long time coming, the first one that’s really been found in this country.

David Elliott:

That’s right, apart from just the odd scrap, isn’t it?