A team of researchers analyzed dinosaur footprint fossils and concluded they belonged to large-bodied carnivorous dinosaurs that were up to three meters high at the hips and about 10 meters long, according to a press release from the University of Queensland.
“To put that into perspective, T. rex got to about 3.25 metres at the hips and attained lengths of 12 to 13 metres long, but it didn’t appear until 90 million years after our Queensland giants,” said lead researcher Anthony Romilio, a paleontologist at the university.
“The Queensland tracks were probably made by giant carnosaurs — the group that includes the Allosaurus. At the time, these were probably some of the largest predatory dinosaurs on the planet.”
The footprints, which date from the late Jurassic period, between 165 and 151 million years ago, were mostly between 50 and 60 centimeters in length, said Romilio, with some reaching almost 80 centimeters.
“These tracks were made by dinosaurs walking through the swamp-forests that once occupied much of the landscape of what is now southern Queensland,” he said.
Romilio points out that paleontologists previously knew about the Tyrannosaurus rex in North America, the Giganotosaurus in South America and the Spinosaurus in Africa, but now there is evidence Australia had large carnivorous dinosaurs.
While this is the first time the fossils have been scientifically described, they were discovered more than half a century ago, said Romilio.
“They were discovered in the ceilings of underground coal mines from Rosewood near Ipswich, and Oakey just north of Toowoomba, back in the 1950s and 1960s,” he said, explaining that they had sat in museum drawers for decades.
The full research paper was published in the journal Historical Biology.
In 2017 researchers found the world’s biggest dinosaur footprint in northwestern Australia.
Measuring nearly 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 meters), the track belonged to a sauropod, a long-necked herbivore.
The record was previously held by a 1.15 meter-long (nearly 3 feet 9 inches) footprint found in Bolivia in July 2016, which was the biggest ever from a carnivorous dinosaur.