New species of dinosaur discovered on Isle of Wight

A new research by Palaeontologists at the College of Southampton suggests four bones not long ago discovered on the Isle of Wight belong to new species of theropod dinosaur, the group that includes Tyrannosaurus rex and contemporary-day birds.

The dinosaur lived in the Cretaceous period of time a hundred and fifteen million decades ago and is estimated to have been up to four metres extensive.

The bones were being found on the foreshore at Shanklin past yr and are from the neck, back and tail of the new dinosaur, which has been named Vectaerovenator inopinatus.

The name refers to the huge air areas in some of the bones, a single of the traits that aided the scientists establish its theropod origins. These air sacs, also observed in contemporary birds, were being extensions of the lung, and it is very likely they aided gasoline an economical breathing method although also making the skeleton lighter.

The fossils were being discovered above a period of time of months in 2019 in 3 separate discoveries, two by men and women and a single by a family members group, who all handed in their finds to the nearby Dinosaur Isle Museum at Sandown.

The scientific research has verified the fossils are incredibly very likely to be from the similar specific dinosaur, with the exact spot and timing of the finds incorporating to this perception.

Robin Ward, a normal fossil hunter from Stratford-upon-Avon, was with his family members going to the Isle of Wight when they created their discovery. He explained: “The pleasure of getting the bones we found was absolutely amazing. I believed they were being special and so took them together when we visited Dinosaur Isle Museum. They right away understood these were being anything rare and requested if we could donate them to the museum to be fully investigated.”

James Lockyer, from Spalding, Lincolnshire was also going to the Island when he discovered yet another of the bones. Also a normal fossil hunter, he explained: “It looked unique from marine reptile vertebrae I have occur throughout in the past. I was hunting a place at Shanklin and had been explained to and read through that I wouldn’t locate much there. However, I always make absolutely sure I search the regions other folks do not, and on this situation it compensated off.”

Paul Farrell, from Ryde, Isle of Wight, included: “I was walking together the seashore, kicking stones and arrived throughout what looked like a bone from a dinosaur. I was genuinely stunned to locate out it could be a new species.”

Just after learning the four vertebrae, paleontologists from the College of Southampton verified that the bones are very likely to belong to a genus of dinosaur earlier unidentified to science. Their findings will be revealed in the journal Papers in Palaeontology, in a paper co-authored by individuals who found the fossils.

Chris Barker, a PhD university student at the college who led the research, explained: “We were being struck by just how hollow this animal was – it is riddled with air areas. Parts of its skeleton ought to have been fairly sensitive.

“The document of theropod dinosaurs from the ‘mid’ Cretaceous period of time in Europe isn’t that fantastic, so it is been genuinely interesting to be in a position to enhance our understanding of the range of dinosaur species from this time.

“You don’t usually locate dinosaurs in the deposits at Shanklin as they were being laid down in a marine habitat. You might be much a lot more very likely to locate fossil oysters or drift wood, so this is a rare locate in truth.”

It is very likely that the Vectaerovenator lived in an area just north of where by its remains were being discovered, with the carcass owning washed out into the shallow sea nearby.

Chris Barker included: “Even though we have enough material to be in a position to ascertain the basic style of dinosaur, we might ideally like to locate a lot more to refine our evaluation. We are incredibly grateful for the donation of these fossils to science and for the significant purpose that citizen science can engage in in palaeontology.”

The Isle of Wight is renowned as a single of the top places for dinosaur remains in Europe, and the new Vectaerovenator fossils will now go on display screen at the Dinosaur Isle Museum at Sandown, which homes an internationally significant collection.

Museum curator, Dr Martin Munt, explained: “This amazing discovery of linked fossils by 3 unique men and women and teams will add to the extensive collection we have and it is fantastic we can now confirm their importance and put them on display screen for the public to marvel at.

“We keep on to undertake public area excursions from the museum and would motivate any one who finds unconventional fossils to provide them in so we can just take a closer glimpse. Even so, fossil hunters should really remember to adhere to the foreshore, and stay clear of heading in the vicinity of the cliffs which are among the the most unstable on the Island.”

Isle of Wight Council Cabinet member for surroundings and heritage, Councillor John Hobart, explained: “This is nevertheless yet another great fossil locate on the Island which sheds light-weight on our prehistoric past – all the a lot more so that it is an entirely new species. It will add to the lots of incredible products on display screen at the museum.”


A display screen outlining the new locate is due to be on exhibit in the major gallery of the museum from Wednesday 12 August. Because of to Covid-19 restrictions, advance reserving is needed for museum guests by contacting (01983) 404344.

The paper ‘A highly pneumatic ‘mid Cretaceous’ theropod from the British Decrease Greensand’ by Chris Barker and individuals who found the fossils will be revealed in Papers in Palaeontology. The authors and College of Southampton have created their findings ‘open access’.

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