Australia's best known carnivorous dinosaur is under the microscope at ANSTO

Fossil study: ANSTO scientist Dr Jospeph Bevitt uses high-tech scanning to uncover secrets about Australia's prehistoric past.
Fossil study: ANSTO scientist Dr Jospeph Bevitt uses high-tech scanning to uncover secrets about Australia's prehistoric past.

It roamed the bare land more than 95 million years ago, but in 2018, the focus is back on a magnificent creature.

Australia’s best known carnivorous dinosaur, Australovenator, is under the microscope at ANSTO, giving students a close-up look at a piece of phenomenal history.

In a quest to find out more about the dinosaur, the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum, in collaboration with the University of New England are using ANSTO’s Australian Synchrotron in Victoria to conduct high resolution 3D X-ray imaging.

The dinosaur’s femur is being studied, to discover more about its internal bone structure, to hopefully reveal how it lived.

Using its flagship beamline technology, ANSTO scientists will use Imaging and Medical beamline  – the world’s widest beam that is ideal for analysing fossil relics of Australia’s prehistoric past.

Through extreme high resolution, it can show in the tiniest of detail, tissues and bones, without damaging the specimens.

ANSTO scientist Dr Joseph Bevitt, who is based at Lucas Heights, was recently at the Australian Synchrotron in Melbourne to perform the scans of the dinosaur.

He says the aim is to find out about the meat eater’s age and life history.

“It’s great to be able to show off both the femur fossil and the scientific techniques we use to high school students with an interest in science,” Dr Bevitt said.

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