The Courier-Mail

I’m raptor meet you, of claws

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AUSTRALIA’S biggest predatory dinosaur has been discovered – a 7m-long, razortoed raptor dubbed “Lightning Claw”.

A study published in the journal Gondwana Research details the discovery of the 110 million-year-old opalised remains of the megaraptor­id at the Outback mining community of Lightning Ridge last year.

Fragments include parts of its claw, arm, hip, ribs and foot.

“It is also notable as the largest predatory dinosaur yet identified from Australia,” the study states.

Its discovery also has important implicatio­ns for the diversity of dinosaurs that may have roamed the vastly different Australia that was part of the Gondwana land mass during the late Jurassic period, 150 million years ago and early Cretaceous (130 million years ago).

It suggests there was a twoway exchange of animals between Australia, Antarctica and South America which drove the evolution of the predatory Megaraptor­a.

“We’ve got tracks of things in Australia that are probably quite a bit larger – so there were bigger theropods out there – but it’s good to have some actual bony elements of one of these animals,” University of Queensland paleontolo­gist Steve Salisbury said.

So far, only fragmentar­y fossils have been recovered for most Australian dinosaurs

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