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This has to be the most fascinating article on Australian dinosaurs we’ve ever read! Have you ever heard of the ‘Australovenator Wintonensis’ or the ‘Diamantinasaurus Matildae’? Sandra Bennett is quite the expert and shares her findings that have inspired so much of her thrilling time-travelling, Australian dinosaur adventure, Fossil Frenzy; the third in the exciting The Adamson Adventures series. Thanks, Sandra, truly roarsome! 🙂
Did you even know we had dinosaurs specific to Australia?
In fact, we have many unusual dinosaurs here, each with their own curious names.
Just recently I had someone ask me if I had made up the name of Qantassaurus. I assured her I had not. Qantassaurus was a herbivore that stood on two hind legs, making it an ornithopod. Unlike most ornithopods that were usually small, Qantassaurus grew much bigger to around 1.8 m tall. He had tiny front limbs, but the hind legs were thick and strong with sharp claws that dug into the ground to help traction as he ran away from predators. Qantassaurus was found in the Winton region and named after our national airline, Qantas, which had its beginnings in the same area.
Qantassaurus is just one of many amazing dinosaurs you will encounter in the pages of Fossil Frenzy, the Adamson Adventures 3. I wanted to write an adventure that had real dinosaurs from Australia instead of all the typical ones that we all grow up learning about. After doing a lot of research, I narrowed the field down to dinosaurs that roamed Australia during the mid-late Cretaceous period.
As the time-travelling journey is set in outback Queensland near Winton, including Banjo and Matilda were a must. Banjo was a type of raptor, ‘Australovenator Wintonensis’, a carnivore and Matilda was a sauropod or long-neck herbivore, ‘Diamantinasaurus Matildae’. They were found together in a dried-up lakebed not far from Winton. Their names are in honour of “Banjo” Patterson the famous Australian poet who wrote ‘Waltzing Matilda’ and happened to live in the Winton area for many years. Throughout the story, I don’t use their full names because they are too hard to pronounce, instead you will find them specifically in the glossary at the back of the book.
The dinosaur that I found was the most curious was the Demon Duck of Doom. It is also known as the Thunderbird or ‘Bullockornis Planei.’ This creature was a flightless bird like an emu or a goose but much taller, and it had an enormous beak. Scientists originally believed it was a carnivore because of its enormous beak, but more recently the thought has changed to the possibility that the Demon Duck of Doom may have in fact been herbivorous. A bird of prey usually has a sharp tip on the beak which is not found on the Demon Duck’s beak. Fossils can’t tell us what colour his feathers might have been either, so I used my imagination and chose to make him quite colourful. As for whether I decided to make him friend or foe, you will need to read the story.
You will also come across an Ankylosuar, an armour-plated herbivore and ‘Spike.’ During my original concept for the story, I wanted to include a Diprotodon, giant wombat, but it was also important to use only dinosaurs and mega-fauna that could be found during a similar time period. The giant wombat was cut, it was far too early for him and was replaced to my delight by a ‘Zaglossus Hacketti,’ or giant echidna. The giant echidna and the giant platypus were not only monotremes, (egg-laying mammals) but were the first of the mega-fauna to appear. I wanted an animal that could interact with my characters on land, so the choice was obvious. ‘Spike’ follows the family dog, Grommet, around everywhere.
Today you will discover all these dinosaurs and others, in fossils found all around Australia. The Age of Dinosaurs Museum just outside of Winton continues to grow every year as scientists unearth many massive bones.
Article by Sandra Bennett.
Read our review of Fossil Frenzy here.
Through her writing, Sandra Bennett hopes to help parents and teachers improve literacy in our children. She appreciates the struggle of teaching reading to reluctant readers and understands the importance of hooking children with reading from an early age. Sandra is devoted to writing stories that engage and entice readers with excitement, adventure, a bit of mystery and a whole lot of fun.
Sandra has independently published two picture books and two early readers, and has had seven short stories published across five anthologies, including the Share Your Story – Thrilling Tales for Brave Kids, and Tell ‘Em They’re Dreaming.
Follow Sandra Bennett at these links:
The Adamson Adventures 3; Fossil Frenzy is available for purchase at Sandra Bennett’s website |
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