The bones we have found there in the last decade have been some of the best.
The bones we have found there in the last decade have been some of the best.

Claw-inspiring discovery in tourism hotspot

DINOSAUR fossils have been unearthed in the Otways, the coastal site continuing to yield fascinating discoveries over the past decade.

The latest discovery reported by scientists includes a 20cm hand claw from a type of theropod dinosaur called a megaraptorid.

Remarkably, two claws, two teeth, an ankle and a neck bone were also found at the site known as 'Eric the Red West' near the Cape Otway Lighthouse between 2011 and 2017.

Swinburne University palaeontologist and lead researcher Stephen Poropat said the fascinating discoveries were found in a rock layer about 107 million years old.

Dinosaur fossil found in the Otways. Picture: Stephen Poropat
Dinosaur fossil found in the Otways. Picture: Stephen Poropat

"All the rocks we found our fossils in - they used to be sandstones or silts at the bottom of a deep river," Dr Poropat said.

"The bones we have found there in the last decade have been some of the best in the whole of Victoria."

An artist impression of a megaraptorid.
An artist impression of a megaraptorid.

 

Fossils of theropods - the group of dinosaurs that includes the famous predators - the Tyrannosaurus and the Velociraptor, are relatively rare in Australia.

Dr Poropat said the fossils were isolated bones which could be about 75 to 110 million years old.

"Megaraptorids had big claws on their hands, with a fairly delicate jaw and delicate teeth."

The digs for fossils are held each February and are co-ordinated by husband and wife palaeontologists, Swinburne's Professor Patricia Vickers-Rich and Dr Thomas Rich from Museums Victoria.

Another dig is planned for next weekend in the Otways. ‌



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