Aussie Banjo dinosaur had giant claw

By aAP with AG staff 28 June 2012
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Australia’s dinosaur predator, dubbed ‘Banjo’, has a giant claw it used to keep a grip on prey, scientists have found.

ONE OF AUSTRALIA’S DEADLIEST dinosaurs used a giant claw to attack its prey, scientists have discovered.

Banjo, or Australovenator wintonensis, became the most complete example of a carnivorous dinosaur discovered in Australia after its skeleton was found in central west Queensland in 2006.

But recently palaeontologists from the Australian Age of Dinosaur Museum, where the skeleton is currently housed, found a missing claw.

Palaeontologist Matt White says the 15cm hooked claw was the missing link that showed how the 5m-long killing machine was able to attack his prey.

While the skeleton was still not complete, he said, the find provided enough from both of Banjo’s arms to CT scan them and recreate how he would have used them through 3D modelling.

“It’s terrifying to think of how this thing would have killed its prey,” Matt says.

Dinosaur used giant claws to eat prey alive

Banjo would have used two massive claws on its hands, including the latest one discovered, to grip and hold its prey still while it slammed its jaws and saw-like teeth into its kill.

“It used the top of its skull to rake through the prey and pull off chunks,” he says. “The animal is still probably kicking alive while its being eaten.”

Although similar in appearance, the cunning velociraptors made famous in the Jurassic Park movies were “bush-turkey size” in comparison to Banjo, Matt says.