Scientists may have found Australia's first T-Rex

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Washington, September 13 : Scientists might have found the skeletal evidence of Australia's first Tyrannosaurus Rex, a ferocious dinosaur, in the outback of the state of Queensland.

According to a report in www.news.com.au, scientists digging at a secret location in central western Queensland found the fossils about two weeks ago, although it could be years before the bones are positively identified.

Queensland Museum curator of geosciences Scott Hocknull said that the 1.5m-deep pit outside Winton held one of the most dense concentrations of dinosaur bones in Australia.

"All of the dinosaurs and all of the fossils we're finding out there are completely new to science, so everything we find out there has yet to be scientifically described," he said.

"That's really exciting from my point of view because we're looking at an environment that has had very little scientific research done on it. Having such a concentration of bones means we'll have many surprises along the way," he added.

One of the biggest mysteries in the area surrounds a huge carnivorous dinosaur that left footprints on a muddy shore as it chased smaller dinosaurs about 98 million years ago.

The footprints were preserved at Lark Quarry, 110km south of Winton, but no bones matching the 3.5m tall, 9m long meat-eating dinosaur have ever been found.

Hocknull said that scientists knew the dinosaur roamed western Queensland and were hopeful the missing link could be among 150 fossils excavated from the pit this year.

According to University of Queensland dinosaur expert Steve Salisbury, finding fossilized bones of a large theropod - a carnivorous dinosaur - would be a major breakthrough in understanding Australian and Southern Hemisphere dinosaurs.

"The trackways (at Lark Quarry) don't mean that there was a tyrannosaurus here, but there was an animal that made a footprint very similar to one that has previously been called tyrannosauropus, or the foot of tyrannosaurus," he said.

"I guess the perfect preserved skeleton of a big thing like this is yet to have emerged so if they've got something like that up at Winton it would be really good," he added.

Footprints of smaller carnivores called coelurosaurs, which were about the size of chickens, and larger plant-eating ornithopods, some of them as large as emus, have also been found in Winton.

Hocknull said that the outback town was in the middle of a "dinosaur rush" which was leading Australia's push to create a national dinosaur collection.

Kylie Piper, of the Australian Age of Dinosaurs organisation that ran the dig with the Queensland Museum, said that the new finds were confirming the diversity of Australia's dinosaur history.

"We're hoping to find a whole lot more something-osaurs," she said.

ANI

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