Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tyrannosaur dinosaurs called Australia home

A piece of bone discover in Victoria more than 20 years before has belatedly stunned scientists, who say the fossilised piece of pelvis once belonged to an ancestor of Tyrannosaurus rex.

The news is important as the 30-centimetre-long fossil is the first evidence that Tyrannosaur Dinosaurs existed and evolved in the southern hemisphere.

Palaeontologist and Museum Victoria senior curator Tom Rich said the discovery of the Fossils, discover at Dinosaur Cove near the Otway coast in 1989, would shed new light on the evolutionary history of this group of Dinosaurs, regarded as highly successful predators characteristic of the northern hemisphere.

''You can't imagine [now] that this was a group that was restricted to the northern hemisphere,'' Dr Rich said. ''Their evolution took place roughly anywhere on dry land on earth.''

Dating back to the premature Cretaceous period, about 100 million years before, when Australia lay alongside Antarctica, the fossil is thought to have belonged to a 3-meter-long, 80-kilogram reptile with tyrannosauroid features including a small head, short arms and powerful jaws.

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