Australia discovers 3 new large Dinosaurs

SYDNEY - Fossils of three new species of dinosaurs have been discovered in Australia, including a meat-eater larger than Velociraptor from the Jurassic Park movies, suggesting Australia may have a more complex prehistoric past.

The two plant-eating and one carnivore dinosaurs, the first large dinosaurs unearthed since 1981, were found in Queensland and date back 98 million years to the mid-Cretaceous period.

"It not only presents us with two new amazing long-necked giants of the ancient Australian continent, but also announces our first really big predator," paleontologist John Long, head of sciences at Museum Victoria said on Friday.

Paleontologist Ben Kear at La Trobe University in Melbourne said the discovery will pave the way for new studies on Australian dinosaurs and their environments.

"Australia is one of the great untapped resources in our current understanding of life from the Age of Dinosaurs," Kear said. "The discoveries...will definitely reinvigorate interest in the hitherto tantalizingly incomplete, but globally significant record from this continent..."

Australia's dinosaur fossil record has been extremely poor compared with North America, South America and Africa.

The new dinosaurs were unearthed during joint Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum and Queensland Museum digs at Winton in outback Queensland.Two of the dinosaurs were found buried together in a 98-million-year-old "billabong" or waterhole.

"Billabongs are a built-in part of the Australian mind because we associate them with mystery, ghosts and monsters," said Hocknull, referring to Patterson's poem Waltzing Matilda, which tells of a "swagman" or bushman who jumps into a billabong and drowns after police try and catch him with a stolen sheep.

Hocknull said hundreds more fossils from the dig were still to be prepared and there was more material to be excavated.

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