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News about Ozraptor, a newly discovered Australian theropod.

Below article from AP Worldstream reprinted for fair use purposes only -- copyright acknowledged.

This Megalania page has been visited times since May 13, 1998.

AP Worldstream

Copyright 1998 Associated Press

May 09, 1998; Saturday

SECTION: International News

''Lizard of Oz,'' Australia's latest dinosaur, makes debut

The ''Lizard of Oz,'' the latest dinosaur discovered in Australia, made its public debut Saturday in the scientific world.

Western Australian Museum dinosaur expert John Long unveiled the 6-foot (2 meter) meat-eating beast's name and vital statistics.

''I'm calling it 'Ozraptor the Lizard of Oz,''' Long said.

The dinosaur's name will become official when his discovery is published in the museum's records next month, a process that formalizes the name.

Only a single bone of the animal has been discovered, but Long said the specimen's unique features proved it was clearly different from anything else in the world.

''It lived about 175 million years ago in the Jurassic period, so it's one of the oldest dinosaurs known from Australia in age and the only known meat-eater at that age from anywhere in Australia,'' he said.

The bone was found about 30 years ago near Geraldton, about 250 miles (400 km) from Perth by a group of students. But it was mislabeled at the University of Western Australia as a possible turtle bone until Long pulled it out of the rock it was embedded in.

''I saw this bone and recognized it as something interesting and prepared it out of the rock I then saw it was clearly a dinosaur,'' he said.

The bone was the end of a tibia, where the foot attached to the leg.

''Because of that, the attachments to the bones are very complicated and there are a number of diagnostic features in that area which enable you to distinguish this dinosaur as being different from all the other dinosaurs,'' he said.

The remains of about 20 species of dinosaurs have been found in Australia.

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