Australia

Dinosaur-era 'swordfish' discovered in outback Australia

An artist's impression of what Australopachycormus hurleyi may have looked like Image copyright Kronosaurus Korner
Image caption An artist's impression of what Australopachycormus hurleyi may have looked like

"Extremely rare" fossils from a swordfish-like creature which lived 100 million years ago have been discovered in the Australian outback.

Two families on holiday unearthed the prehistoric predator at a free fossil-finding site in north-west Queensland.

The remains are thought to be from the Australopachycormus hurleyi, a 3m-long ray-finned fish with a pointed snout.

"Part of what makes this specimen so special is that it is so complete," Dr Patrick Smith told the BBC.

The curator of Kronosaurus Korner says that the centre has assembled the ancient creature's skull, backbone and fins.

"We know that it was a high-tier carnivore and that it ate other large fast-moving fish, a bit like marlin do today," he said.

"Because it does fit that swordfish-like shape we know he probably lived in that same ecological niche."

Image copyright Kronosaurus Korner
Image caption The remains of Australopachycormus hurleyi are on display at the museum

Dr Smith said he wanted to encourage other amateur palaeontologists to make their way to the tiny outback township 1,700km (1,000 miles) from Brisbane.

"Come to Richmond, because there's an awful lot of material to be collected," he said.

Fossils have been turning up since the 1930s in the region of north-west Queensland, which is described as "Australia's Dinosaur Trail".

Related Topics

More on this story