First carnivorous dinosaur tracks discovered in Victoria, Australia

Victorian dinosaurs

This picture is about dinosaurs from Victoria, Australia, during the Cretaceous.

From Emory University in Australia:

Emory paleontologist reports discovery of carnivorous dinosaur tracks in Australia

The first fossil tracks belonging to large, carnivorous dinosaurs have been discovered in Victoria, Australia, by paleontologists from Emory University, Monash University and the Museum of Victoria (both in Melbourne). The tracks are especially significant for showing that large dinosaurs were living in a polar environment during the Cretaceous Period, when Australia was still joined to Antarctica and close to the South Pole.

The find is being reported today, Friday, Oct. 19, at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting in Austin, Texas, by Anthony Martin, senior lecturer in environmental studies at Emory. Martin researched the find with Patricia Vickers-Rich and Lesley Kool of Monash University and Thomas Rich of the Museum of Victoria.

The three separate dinosaur tracks are about 14 inches long, show at least two or three partial toes, and were likely made by large carnivorous dinosaurs (theropods) on river floodplains about 115 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period. Based on track sizes, Martin estimates that these dinosaurs were 4.6 to 4.9 feet tall at the hip, large by human standards but about 20 percent smaller than Allosaurus, a large theropod from the Jurassic Period.

Martin found two of the tracks during a February 2006 visit with Rich to the “Dinosaur Dreaming” site, near the coastal town of Inverloch. Tyler Lamb, a Monash undergraduate student and volunteer at the dig site, found a third track in February 2007, having been alerted by Kool to look for them. Martin then confirmed its identity during a visit in July 2007. Other possible, partial dinosaur tracks have been found at the same site and another locality, but these have yet to be studied in detail.

Vickers-Rich and Rich have been studying the dinosaurs and mammals of Victoria for nearly 30 years. Lower Cretaceous strata of Victoria have yielded a sizeable amount of dinosaur skeletal material since the late 1970s, resulting in the best-documented polar dinosaur assemblage in the world. Until Martin’s find in 2006, however, only one dinosaur track (from a small herbivorous dinosaur) had been documented.

“I think a lot more tracks are out there, but they’ve been too subtle to notice before now,” Martin says. He and the other researchers say they are optimistic that additional tracks will be found, now that they have examples of the tracks to go by in their searches.

Australian dinosaurs: here.

New Encyclopedia Digs into Dinosaurs: here.

11 thoughts on “First carnivorous dinosaur tracks discovered in Victoria, Australia

  1. China builds 1.5km dam to protect dinosaur site

    China has built a large earth dam to protect a dinosaur fossil site from being washed away by floods, state media said.

    Workers in China’s northern Heilongjiang province took three years to complete the 1,450 metre long embankment, the Xinhua news agency said.

    “The embankment could effectively protect the dinosaur mountain from threats of water erosion and floods,” Li Jinshan, vice director of Jiayin Dinosaur National Geologic Park Administrative Bureau, said.

    Thousands of dinosaur fossils have been unearthed from a mountain that adjoins the river forming the China-Russia boundary and 13 skeletons have been assembled, Xinhua said.

    At least 100 more skeletons are believed to be buried there, archaeologists were quoted as saying.

    “Every summer, rising waters and strong currents erode parts of the mountain, leaving dinosaur fossils exposed,” Xinhua said.

    “Many fossils have been washed away in the past.”

    – Reuters


  2. Dinosaur bones may delay $3 billion project

    By Ellen Whinnett

    November 27, 2007 12:07am
    Article from: Herald Sun

    DINOSAUR bones dating back 115 million years could lead to cost blowouts and delays for Victoria’s $3 billion desalination plant.

    Bones, teeth and vertebrae of dinosaurs and ancient marine reptiles have been found in a rock shelf on the beach at the South Gippsland township Wonthaggi.

    The find, described by scientists as internationally significant, is in front of the planned site for the desalination plant at Powlett River – southeast of Melbourne.

    Dinosaur expert Lesley Kool said the prehistoric discovery linked Australia with the Antarctic.

    Local MP Ken Smith demanded a full environmental effects statement on the desalination plant.

    “It’s like boring through the tombs of the ancient emperors in Egypt or drilling holes through the Terracotta Warriors in China after they had been discovered,” he said.

    A full report and public comment could cause lengthy delays and cost blowouts for the project, which is scheduled to supply Melbourne with water by 2011.

    Construction is due to start next year. But EES inquiries into other projects, including the failed toxic dump plan at Nowingi in north-west Victoria and channel-deepening in Port Phillip Bay, have been expensive and time-consuming.

    The dinosaur bones were first documented by scientists in 1994, but had been a secret until last week.

    It was only last week that experts realised the Department of Sustainability and Environment was probably unaware the rock shelf lay in the most likely path for the inflow and outfall pipes for the desalination plant.

    Melbourne Museum’s curator of vertebrate palaeontology, Dr Tom Rich, wrote to the department about the fossils’ presence.

    Water Minister Tim Holding’s spokesman, Luke Enright, would not say whether the Government would agree to an EES.

    “We will take all environmental and cultural issues into consideration when determining the final specifications and location for the inlet and outlet structures, pipelines and the plant,” he said.

    Mrs Kool, an honorary research associate at Monash University, has spent the past few days examining the site with Dr Rich.

    She said the ancient remains were discovered on the surface of the rocky shelf, which was occasionally exposed by the tides and wind.

    The fossilised remains of a plant-eating dinosaur species known as ornithopods had been discovered, as well as those of giant sea-going reptiles called plesiosaurs.

    The remains of polar lungfish had also been found.

    Mrs Kool said this was scientifically relevant, because lungfish now lived only in warm waters.

    “There is evidence of dinosaurs, teeth, bones and vertebrae,” she said.

    “The rocks were deposited at a time when Australia was in the polar circle.”

    Mrs Kool said because no digging had been done at the site, she did not know how deep the rock shelf was, and how much of an impact the tunnels that needed to be dug for the desalination pipes would have on the site.

    “If it’s going to be down 10m or more, it probably won’t impact on our fossil layer,” she said.

    Personally, she believes desalination ought to be a last resort. “On a scientific level, my concern is that the fossil locality won’t be damaged,” she said.

    Mr Smith, the Liberal member for Bass, said the Brumby Government must conduct an EES.

    “This is a site of international significance and an environmental effects statement is not optional. It’s compulsory,” he said.

    “John Brumby’s Government has failed to deliver water security for Victorians for eight years, and now they want to rush this project through and take an undeveloped area of the coast and industrialise it.”

    Bass Coast Shire councillor Gareth Barlow said DSE investigations were “slip-shod” and he was sure the department hadn’t known of the bones until now.

    He said VicRoads advertised in last week’s Herald Sun for a tender to design and construct tunnels at the site.

    “The Government must commit to an EES that is open, transparent and commented on by the scientific community,” he said.,23599,22828316-421,00.html


  3. Outback bones may be Aussie T-rex

    Michael Wray

    September 13, 2008 12:01am
    Article from: The Courier-Mail

    BONES that could be the first skeletal evidence of Australia’s answer to the ferocious Tyrannosaurus rex have been found in outback Queensland.

    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 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.”

    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.

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

    University of Queensland dinosaur expert Steve Salisbury, who was not on the dig, said finding fossilised 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,” Dr Salisbury 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.”

    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.

    Mr Hocknull said the outback town was in the middle of a “dinosaur rush” which was leading Australia’s push to create a national dinosaur collection.

    “It’s our best crack at understanding what life was here before Australia became an island and that has huge implications for understanding how life has evolved in Australia as an island,” he said.

    He said the bones seemed to be deposited on the edge of a 98 million-year-old billabong formed in the same way as modern billabongs.

    “That whole process has been under way for at least 98 million years and still happens out there, but instead of dinosaurs there are sheep and cow (bones being deposited),” he said.

    Kylie Piper, of the Australian Age of Dinosaurs organisation that ran the dig with the Queensland Museum, said new finds were confirming the diversity of Australia’s dinosaur history. “Were hoping to find a whole lot more something-osaurs,” she said.,23599,24336389-2,00.html


  4. Qld dig uncovers unique dinosaur bones

    September 16, 2008 – 1:25PM

    A dig for dinosaur bones in western Queensland may have uncovered a new species, scientists say.

    The Australian Age of Dinosaurs Institute has completed a two-week dig at a remote sheep and cattle station near Winton, where a 20-metre sauropod, dubbed Matilda, was discovered three years ago.

    Institute chairman David Elliott said the fossils found in the latest dig were up to 98 million years old.

    “We took back two ute fulls of bones,” Mr Elliott said.

    “Because they’re small bones we don’t think they belong to Matilda.

    “We’re hopeful it’s something totally unique but we won’t know anything until six to eight months’ time.”

    Mr Elliott said more of Matilda’s bones were also retrieved.

    “We’re looking at one of the biggest concentrations of dinosaur bones that we’ve ever found,” he said.

    “There’s a huge potential for some very exciting discoveries to come out of this work.”

    Sauropods, which first appeared in the late Triassic Period, were the largest animals to have lived on land.

    © 2008 AAP


  5. i found what looks like dinosauers tracks beside a falls in canada,on. i have pictures. where do i send them or who do i contact to see if there real


  6. Re #5: here are a few dinosaur addresses in Canada. Maybe it’s best to contact the one which is closest to you. This list is, with clickable links, here; scroll down to go to Canada there.

    Dinosaur Provincial Park in Patricia, Alberta, Canada

    Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller, Alberta, Canada. See a T. rex, Triceratops, Quetzalcoatlus (a pterodactyloid), and many other wonderful fossils.

    Bruce County Museum, Southampton, Ontario, Canada

    Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

    Redpath Museum, Montreal, Quebec, Canada


  7. Pingback: Most popular posts on this blog in 2012 | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  8. Pingback: Western Australia dinosaur tracks, new study | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  9. Pingback: Australian dinosaur tracks, world’s most diverse | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  10. Pingback: Small dinosaur discovery in Victoria, Australia | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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