STL Science Center

STL Science Center

10 May 2013

Southern Hunters

©Smokybjb (Anyone that finds a real name for me gets a free smiley)
Things (animals, plants, and the environment) have been trying to kill one another in Australia since time began. This week's dinosaurs are proof of that. Hunting the southern continent, Early Cretaceous dinosaurs like Australovenator wintonensis is considered a megaraptor. Megaraptors are a clade of the Neovenator family that we are only recently starting to fully understand. Australovenator, for example, was initially named in 2009 and has had subsequent studies performed on its forelimbs and reported on in 2012. The remains of Australovenator are minimal when compared to some of its other family members; however, a lot of assumption have been put forth based on those remains. At an estimated 6.6ft (2m) at the hip this was a medium sized carnivore for its time and its large hands indicate an animal that was more adept at slashing its victims than most other contemporaries. Almost nothing can be said about the other methods of killing prey, teeth or with pes claws, because the skull and the hindlimbs of Australovenator are not well known at this time; a mandible without teeth and a foot that ends in tarsals with one pes claw are a part of the remains that have been recovered.

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