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‘Lightning Claw’ is Largest Carnivorous Dinosaur Ever Discovered in Australia

posted: 09/11/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Lightning Claw
Julius T. Csotonyi/University of New England

A newly discovered 22-foot dinosaur now holds the distinction as being the largest carnivorous dinosaur ever found in Australia. Nicknamed 'Lighting Claw', the 110-million-year-old creature dates back to the Cretaceous Period.

The specimen was originally found by miners in the town of Lightning Ridge, New South Wales. Paleontologists were able to unearth pieces of the dinosaur's hip, ribs, arm and foot, along with a 10-inch claw that researchers say was used as a "grappling hook" to snatch prey. The large dinosaur's partially complete skeleton is the second most complete specimen found on the island.

Lightning Claw also leaves paleontologists questioning long-held notions about dinosaur evolution.

"What is fascinating about this discovery is it changes the popular notion that Australian dinosaurs came from ancestors derived from Africa and South America," Dr. Phill Bell, a University of New England paleontologist who penned a study about Lightning Claw, said in a news release. "Instead, the 'Lightning Claw' appears to be the ancestor of all megaraptorids, meaning this group appeared first in Australia."

Prior to Lighting Claw's discovery, Australovenator was thought to be the largest carnivore found in Australia.

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