Waltzing the Billabong: Select your partners for a Cretaceous waltz


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Waltzing the Billabong: Select your partners for a Cretaceous waltz

In 2006, a dinosaur graveyard in outback Queensland surrendered a spectacular new sauropod named Matilda. As Australia’s best preserved sauropod skeleton and the type specimen of Diamantinasaurus matildae, Matilda was a star in her own right, but she was to reveal a stunning secret – she had not waltzed to the grave alone … Her partner? A murderous carnivore named Australovenator wintonensis – the ‘Southern Hunter from Winton’ !

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As a kid, ‘Scotty’ Hocknull dreamt of finding a big carnivorous dinosaur. After all, it was only a matter of time before someone, somewhere in Australia, found a near-complete theropod skeleton, rather than the odd bone, tooth or claw! Nonetheless, he concedes the dream was never really contemplated in adulthood. Fast forward to June 2006 and Scott, now a palaeontologist and Curator of Geo Sciences at the Queensland Museum (QM) was standing with a shovel at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs (AAOD) ‘Matilda’ Dig site, west of Winton. In the back of his mind he knew that the beast of his childhood dream had roamed these parts; big footprints at Lark Quarry were evidence of that. The pit in which Scott was standing however, was surrendering sauropod bones. With the hope of finding more, he raised his shovel …

AAOD Journal Issue 7 (2009) – pages 22 to 49 
By Robyn Molan

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