Complete dinosaur fossil discovered in UK a century ago reveals new species

John Sebeck

An artist’s impression of the newly identified dinosaur species Comptonatus chasei, found on the Isle of Wight, off the coast of southern England.

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A previously unknown species of plant-eating dinosaur roamed an island off the southern coast of England about 125 million years ago, a new research study has found.

The dinosaur was about the size of a large American bison and weighed about a ton, said Jeremy Lockwood, a researcher at the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom and lead author of a study on the prehistoric creature.

Fossilized footprints found near the skeleton show the dinosaur was likely a grazing animal, Lockwood said, adding: “Large herds of these dinosaurs likely roamed the floodplains when they were scared off by predators more than 120 million years ago.”

University of Portsmouth

Jeremy Lockwood at the excavation site at Compton Bay on the Isle of Wight.

The dinosaur fossil, consisting of 149 bones, was discovered on the Isle of Wight in 2013 and is the most complete skeleton found in the UK in more than a century. research This study was published in the Journal of Systematic Paleontology.

The bones were found by avid local fossil collector Nick Chase, who died of cancer in 2019.

“Nick had a tremendous sense of smell for finding dinosaur bones – he was really a modern-day Mary Anning,” Lockwood said, referring to the famous 19th-century paleontologist. New release“He would collect fossils every day in all weathers and donate them to museums. I wished we could spend our old age collecting fossils together because we were the same age, but unfortunately that didn’t happen.”

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The new dinosaur species, Comptonatus chasei, is named after Chase and the site where the skeleton was found, Compton Bay.

University of Portsmouth

The dinosaur’s large hip bone revealed that it was a previously unknown species.

The researchers were able to determine that the skeleton belonged to a new species of dinosaur because of its unique features, such as the jaw and a particularly large pubic hip bone.

Lockwood described the discovery as a “fantastic find”, explaining: “It helps us understand more about the different types of dinosaurs that lived in England in the Early Cretaceous period.”

Mike Greenslade, general manager of the National Trust for Conservation on the Isle of Wight, hailed the “exceptional discovery”.

“Finding the most complete dinosaur in the UK in a century not only highlights the ancient significance of the island, but also the importance of preserving our landscape for future generations to explore and learn from,” Greenslade said.

“The amazing discovery by Nick Chase and the tireless research by Jeremy Lockwood are a testament to the amazing history that awaits to be uncovered here,” he added.

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