Newly Discovered Australian Dinosaur Named Lightning Claw

Posted on September 15, 2015

Lightning Claw dinosaur

A new carnivorous Australian dinosaur named Lightning Claw has been discovered. The fossilized bones were discovered in Lightning Ridge, New South Wales. It is the largest carnivorous dinosaur discovered in Australia. It had a length of about 7 meters (23 feet).

The fossilized skeleton was discovered by miners Rob and Debbie Brogan. It includes a foot bone, giant claw and parts of the dinosaur's hip, ribs and forearm. The dinosaur was identified by researchers from the University of New England in Australia. The bones from the Early Cretaceous are estimated to be 110 million years old.

Palaeontologist Dr. Phil Bell from the University of New England is the lead author of the paper published in Gondwana Research. He says in a statement, "I immediately recognised this fossil was something new. When I compared it to other Australian and South American dinosaurs, it was clear it was a megaraptorid which is relatively rare group of dinosaurs, mostly known from Argentina."

Lightning Claw would have used its hand claw like a grappling hook. It was about 25 centimeters (10 inches) long.

Dr. Bell says, "What is fascinating about this discovery is it changes the popular notion that Australian dinosaurs came from ancestors derived from Africa and South America – instead the 'Lightning Claw' appears to be the ancestor of all megaraptorids, meaning this group appeared first in Australia."

Image: Julius Csotonyi