Three new dinosaurs found in Australia

July 3, 2009 at 11:52 AM
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WINTON, Australia, July 3 (UPI) -- Three new dinosaurs -- two giant plant eaters and a carnivore -- have been discovered in Queensland, Australia, scientists said.

The full dinosaur skeletons were uncovered near Winton by staff and volunteers at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Friday.

The carnivore, Australovenator wintonensis, nicknamed Banjo, in life would have been bigger and more terrifying than a velociraptor, said paleontologist Scott Hocknull.

With three large slashing claws on each paw, Australovenator wintonensis was the "cheetah of his time" -- light, agile and able to run down prey with ease over open ground, said David Elliott, the museum's president.

The two plant eaters found near Winton also lived about 100 million years ago and rank among titanosaurs -- the largest species of dinosaurs.

Witonotitan wattsi, nicknamed Clancy, was tall and slender, while Diamantinasaurus matildae, nicknamed Matilda, was stocky and hippo-like, Elliott said.

The three dinosaur skeletons were named after Banjo Paterson and the characters in his poetry. Paterson composed "Waltzing Matilda" in Winton and first performed it there in 1885.

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