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Dinosaur bones unearthed by outback Queensland drought

September 15, 2016:

by Nancy Notzon

Dinosaur bones that are being exposed in outback Queensland where grass and water once lay are providing a surprising boost for small communities struggling with ongoing drought.

Many graziers, locals and tourists who find bones and fossils near the small town of Richmond in the state's north-west are donating them to the local dinosaur museum, Kronosaurus Korner.

Up to 1,000 visitors are coming each year, which is more than the population of Richmond itself.

The Wilson family from Victoria are among those who keep coming back.

On their third visit, nine-year-old twins Darcy and Amber discovered an ichthyosaur in a quarry just outside Richmond.

He was named "Wilson".

"Amber chose a spot to dig in and then dad lifted up a rock and two vertebrae popped out of it," Darcy said.

"Then we found ... the little bit of Wilson, more teeth and another vertebrae, so then we called them back and they said I think we found the skull."

Darcy's mother Lisa Wilson said they first started coming to the region because Amber wanted to become a palaeontologist.

"It's really exciting, I think that's why we keep coming back because we know that every year we've found something," Ms Wilson said.

"Every year we learn more and more about the area and the fossils each year and to think that anybody can come here, you don't have to be a professional."

Palaeontologist and museum coordinator Patrick Smith is excited by how many dinosaur bones keep popping up.

"We just haven't had the dinosaur finds that we've seen in other places like the United States or Europe," Dr Smith said.

Grazier Robert Hacon found the world's most complete kronosaurus jawbone on his property. It was donated to the museum.

"As I looked around, then a little bit further, I saw part of a bone, quite a big bone sticking out of some rock," he said. "I thought to myself, my God, what have I found here."

While the discovery did not help him financially, he wanted to help morale.

"It makes you feel really special to come up with something like that," he said.



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