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Australia's largest dinosaur found after 95 million years

BRISBANE, Australia, Oct 10 (AFP) - Australia's biggest dinosaur, five cars long and two storeys tall, has been unearthed in one of the world's great cretaceous-period stomping grounds, it was announced here Wednesday.

The dinosaur, believed to have lived 95 million years ago, was nicknamed Elliot after a family member of the grazier who discovered the fossils on his property near Winton in western Queensland.

Queensland's state Arts Minister Matt Foley, who announced the find, said palaeontologists from Queensland Museum had since recovered the thigh bone, ribs and part of the backbone of the great plant-eating member of the titanosaurid family.

He was believed to have measured between 16 and 21 metres (52-68 feet).

"Even the thigh bone was half a metre wide and as tall as a family fridge," Foley said.

The other 95 percent of Elliot's estimated 500 bones, including the head, remain buried and it could take another two years or more to find the rest, scattered over an area the size of seven football fields.

The site will be kept secret to avoid vandalism.

Palaeontologist Steve Salisbury told a news conference the dinosaur may prove to be part of a unique Australian group of Sauropods -- giant herbivores with long necks and tails, and disproportionately small heads.

In the 1960s thousands of dinosaur footprints were excavated by the Queensland Museum and Australian Army about 110 kilometres (70 miles) south-west of Winton.

More than 3,000 footprints made by almost 200 dinosaurs were found at the site.

Dinosaurs lived between 220 and 65 million years ago during the cretaceous and jurassic periods.

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