Dinosaur fossils discovered in Queensland outback

Neil Warren

The jawbone of a meat eating raptor has been found, as the legend of the dinosaur comes to life in Queensland's outback.

So many fossils have now been discovered near Winton, there are plans for a world class tourist attraction. 100 million years ago, the area was very different.

"It kind of blows your mind a little bit ... this area has got so many dinosaur remains," laboratory manager Trish Sloan said.

The prehistoric creatures roamed hundreds of square kilometres, now it's a graveyard. One by one scientists and volunteers are finding them and naming them.

There are around 20; most are tall plant eating dinosaurs. Banjo the raptor is the only meat eater.

"As soon as I looked at it, I knew we had something really significant so we highly prioritised it and within 12 days we had the lower jaw of Banjo with teeth in it," Trish said.

His fossils were found in what would have been a billabong, along with those belonging to a more placid dinosaur called Matilda, Trish explains.

"She’s come in to obviously get a drink of water and she's got stuck. The possibility is that Banjo has come in for an easy meal," she said.

Nobody knows how many dinosaurs roamed the region all that time ago and they probably never will but they do know the sort of country they were living in: it was wet, temperate forest with rivers and creeks. Trees also towered 25 metres above.

Fossil technicians chip away at rock to find bone. One of them is a former star of Channel 7's Beauty and the Geek.

"I was always keen about dinosaurs ever since I was a little tacker," George Sinapius said, who is one of a number of staff working towards turning the tourist attraction in its infancy into a world class museum by 2020.

There are still at least 30 sites to unearth.

You can volunteer here for the next dig, which will happen in May.