Temporal range: Middle Bajocian,
~169 Ma
A skeletal reconstruction based on evidence suggesting it is an abelisaurid
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Clade: Saurischia
Clade: Theropoda
Genus: Ozraptor
Long & Molnar, 1998
O. subotaii
Binomial name
Ozraptor subotaii
Molnar, 1998

Ozraptor (meaning "Australian thief") is a genus of possibly abelisauroid theropod dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic (Bajocian) Colalura Sandstone[1] of Australia, known from fragmentary remains.

Discovery and naming

In 1967 a group of four twelve-year-old Scotch College schoolboys found a fossil at the Bringo Railway Cutting site near Geraldton, which they showed to professor Rex Prider of the University of Western Australia. He had a cast made that he sent to experts of the British Museum of Natural History in London who thought it likely belonged to an extinct turtle. Re-evaluation of the bone in the 1990s after being prepared out of the rock by John Albert Long and Ralph Molnar classified the fossil as the shinbone of a genus of theropods.[2]

In 1998 Long and Molnar named and described the type (and only) species Ozraptor subotaii. The generic name is derived from "Ozzies", the nickname for Australians, and a Latin raptor, "seizer". The specific name honours a fictional character, the swift-running thief and archer "Subotai" from the movie Conan the Barbarian.[3]

The holotype, UWA 82469, was found in the Colalura Sandstone, dating to the middle Bajocian, about 169 million years ago. It consists of the distal or lower end of a left tibia. Together with Rhoetosaurus, Ozraptor is among the oldest known Australian dinosaurs.

The specimen is 8 centimetres (3.1 in) long and 4 centimetres (1.6 in) wide at the lower end. From these measurements, a total length for the shinbone was estimated of about 17 to 20 centimetres (6.7 to 7.9 in) and for the animal as a whole of about 2 metres (6.6 ft). Three diagnostic features were established enabling it to be upheld as a distinct species of dinosaur: the ascending process of the astragalus had a rectangular shape with a straight upper end; the astragalar facet had a vertical ridge; the medial condyle was weakly developed.


Only known from one partial leg bone, Ozraptor is difficult to classify. In 1998 the describers could not more precisely determine the classification than a Theropoda incertae sedis. In 2004 Thomas Holtz thought it was a member of the Avetheropoda. In 2005 another study, by Oliver Rauhut, suggested that it was indeed a theropod, and more specifically, a member of the Abelisauroidea based on the presence of the distinct vertical median ridge on the astragalar groove.[4] Classified as one, Ozraptor would be the oldest known abelisauroid.

See also


  1. ^ Tykoski, R. and Rowe, T. (2004). "Ceratosauria". in Weishampel, David B.; Dodson, Peter; and Osmólska, Halszka (eds.): The Dinosauria, 2nd, Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 109. ISBN 0-520-24209-2.
  2. ^ Long, J.A. (1998). Dinosaurs of Australia and New Zealand and other animals of the Mesozoic Era. Harvard University Press, UNSW Press, pp 94-96. ISBN 0-86840-448-9
  3. ^ Long, J.A. and Molnar, R.E. (1998). "A new Jurassic theropod dinosaur from Western Australia". Records of the Western Australian Museum 19 (1): 221-229
  4. ^ Rauhut, O.W.M. (2005). "Post-cranial remains of ‘coelurosaurs’ (Dinosauria, Theropoda) from the Late Jurassic of Tanzania". Geological Magazine 142 (1): 97–107