Each continent had a major predatory dinosaur, in North America, it was the T-Rex, in Africa the Spinosaurus.
Now researchers from the University of Queensland have identified fossil footprints from a gigantic predatory dinosaur that roamed Australia in the southern Queensland area during the Jurassic period 165-151 million years ago.
The tracks were created by the dinosaur in a swamp-forest environment and are around 50 to 60 centimetres in length, with some of the huge tracks measuring nearly 80 centimetres
Palaeontologist, Dr Anthony Romilio from the University of Queensland said: “I’ve always wondered, where were Australia’s big carnivorous dinosaurs? But I think we’ve found them, right here in Queensland”
The research team believes the tracks were made by a large-bodied carnosaur, reaching a hight of three metres at the hips and probably around 10 metres in length. In comparison, a T-Rex is 3.2 metres at the hips and the average length was between 12-13 metres.
At the time, carnosaurs, of which the group includes Allosaurus was one of the largest predatory dinosaurs on the planet.
Despite the study providing important new insights into Australia’s natural heritage, the fossils are not a recent discovery.
Dr Romilio said. “The tracks have been known for more than half a century. They were discovered in the ceilings of underground coal mines from Rosewood near Ipswich, and Oakey just north of Toowoomba, back in the 1950s and 1960s.”
The samples were placed in a museum drawer, technically forgotten without any scientific study until now.
Header Image Credit : Dr Anthony Romilio