Dinosaur Bones Found near Winton in Western Queensland, Australia

Recent reports of Dinosaur Bones being found in Western Queensland, brought to mind an incident that happened when I was in that area years ago.

Over thirty years ago I was visiting a sheep station in Western Queensland when I noticed some large bones lying beside a shed. I walked over and, much to my surprise, realised they were dinosaur bones. I asked the Boss where they came from and we were soon in the ute, heading off across the plain. We pulled up at a spot where there were a large number of dinosaur bones lying around. Judging from the size of the bones, the creature must have been huge. There was no skull,as far as I could see, but the rib bones and vertebrae were quite visible.

I asked the Boss if he had notified the Museum or University. He said that he had not. He didn't want a lot of University Academics wandering all over the place, leaving gates open and frightening the sheep.

I guess attitudes have changed with the times, as there have been a number of significant dinosaur discoveries reported in Western Queensland and a very impressive Dinosaur Museum was set up at Richmond a few years ago.

A new Museum has opened at Winton, Queensland, where, according to ABC News, Palaeontologists unveiled three new Australian dinosaur skeletons this month (July 2009)

This ABC Video records the details.

The two herbivores and one carnivore, excavated from a site near Winton, roamed our land during the Cretaceous period - 98 million years ago. All three skeletons are new genera of dinosaur, which show evolutionary links with dinosaurs from the Northern Hemisphere.

Dinosaurs are said to have diversified and spread all over the world but Australia, being a very isolated place at the end of the world, developed its own unique fauna. The new genera of carnivore, named Australovenator by the researchers, is the most complete meat-eating dinosaur skeleton ever found in Australia.

Queensland Museum Palaeontologist, Dr Hocknull said that Australovenator, nicknamed Banjo, was the cheetah of its time. It was two metres from the hip, six metres long and built for speed.

The plant-eaters, Clancy and Matilda, were both titanosaur sauropods. Dr Hocknull said that, while Clancy was built like a hippo, Matilda was more like a giraffe. It was 16 metres high with a long neck and small head.

The skeletons of Matilda and Banjo were found together at the bottom of an ancient billabong. Whatever killed Matilda probably killed Banjo, says Dr Hocknull. "Whether Banjo was trying to eat Matilda's carcass or they both got stuck in the mud together we don't really know."

Dr Hocknull says the dinosaurs were named after Australian poet Banjo Patterson and his characters.

"It's kind of quirky that we have a national song about a man dying at the bottom of a billabong and we've got the same scenario playing out here 100 million years ago with a couple of dinosaurs," he said.

Dr Hocknull said there are many more dinosaurs in the Winton site and they hope to find Australia's oldest mammals among them. "There are at least 50 other sites we know that are yet to be excavated so the next 20 to 30 years in Australian dinosaur science will be very exciting."

Clancy, Matilda and Banjo are now part of an exhibition in the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum, which is in Winton. Dr Hocknull says the exhibition would not have got off the ground without the local community. Thousands of volunteer hours have gone into prepping the dinosaur bones so they can be studied and now available for the public, he said.

Dinosaur Found Near Richmond in Western Queensland

According to an article in the Courier Mail on 9 May 2009, a 'grey nomad' who made a toilet stop in northwest Queensland has found dinosaur bones, the fossilised remains of a 100-million-year-old marine reptile.

A dig will start next month to uncover the fossil near Richmond, 500km west of Townsville.

Fossils are found prolifically around the town which is the geographical centre of a Cretaceous Period inland sea.

Paul Stumkat, curator of the Kronosaurus Korner museum at Richmond, yesterday said a retired couple from Townsville found the dinosaur bones last year.

"They went to a site near town where the (Richmond Shire) council has had a couple of quarries for road base," Mr Stumkat said. "It's a good place to look for fossils because the overburden has been removed.

"He was about 5km past the quarry when he made a pit stop.

"I just wish I could stop for a pee and stumble over something like that."

The creature is an ichthyosaur, a creature that looks like a dolphin although it is a reptile rather than a mammal.

"We don't yet know exactly how large it is but these creatures grew to 4 or 5 metres - maybe about the size of a large dolphin or small whale," he said.

"They ate fish and squid and are not the sort of thing you trip over every day."

The Dinosaur Bones are expected to go on display at the Kronosaurus Korner museum at Richmond,Western Queensland.

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