Australovenator wintonensis
Hocknull, White, Tischler, Cook, Calleja, Sloan and Elliott 2009

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    Southern Hunter, from Winton
    Megaraptora, Neovenatoridae, Carcharodontosauria, Theropods
    Early Cretaceous (Latest Albian) 99 MYA
    Winton Formation
    c.5m long, 1.5m at hips, c.500kg
    c.60 km north-west of Winton, QLD

Australovenator was discovered on a cattle Station in Queensland, approximately 60 km north-west of Winton, in June 2006. It is known from nine isolated teeth, a left dentary, right and left dorsal ribs and rib fragments, right and left gastralial ribs and fragments, partial right ilium, both ulnae, right radius, manus metacarpals, right femur, both tibiae, right fibula, right astragalus, metatarsals, phalanges and unguals. It would not be surprising if more bones are known for this specimen alone than for all the other Australian theropod material combined.

Australovenator is thought to be most similar to Fukuiraptor from Japan and Neovenator from the Isle of Wight, and shares skeletal features found in both primitive allosaurs and carcharodontosaurs. A theropod astragalus previously found in Victoria, which had been compared first to allosaurs, then allosauroids, then specifically to Fukuiraptor, is now considered to be a close relative of Australovenator, perhaps even within the same genus.

In 2009 Benson, Carrano and Brusatte erected a new allosauroid clade called the Neovenatoridae, which is a more basal sister taxon to the Carcharodontosauridae. They defined the Megaraptora as a subset of the Neoventatoridae, which includes Megaraptor from South America, Fukuiraptor from Japan, and Australovenator from Australia (amongst other genera). The Megaraptora are distinguished from other Neovenatorids by their long raptorial forelimbs, cursorial hind limbs, appendicular pneumaticity and small size.

Astragalus from Victoria, attributed to Australovenator sp.

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Benson, R.B.J., Carrano, M.T and Brusatte, S.L. 2009. A new clade of archaic large-bodied predatory dinosaurs (Theropoda: Allosauroidea) that survived to the latest Mesozoic. Naturwissenschaften

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Hocknull, Scott A., M.A.White, M.A., T.R.Tischler, A.G.Cook, N.D.Calleja, T.Sloan & D.A.Elliott 2009. New mid-Cretaceous (latest Albian) dinosaurs from Winton, Queensland, Australia. PLoS ONE 4(7): e6190

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