Current dinosaur closely similar to the Tyrannosaur rex found in England
Scientists have discovered what they think is a new theropod dinosaur species — making it a close relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex. A group of researchers recently said they have uncovered unusual bones in the UK. This seems to relate to the iconic species.
Paleontologists at Southampton University said they were examining four bones on the Isle of Wight, off the southern coast of mainland England, recently. The bones are called Vectaerovenator inopinatus from the new dinosaur ‘s neck, back and tail.
During the Cretaceous period, about 115 million years ago, the Vectaerovenator inopinatus, which is believed to have grown to about 13 feet long, was roaming the Earth. Scientists claim that it is a theropod, a group of carnivorous dinosaurs normally walking on two legs instead of four.
The dinosaur has been named in some of its bones for the large air spaces — a characteristic that has helped scientists link it to theropods, the researchers said. The “air sacs,” which are also present in modern-day birds, were extensions of the lungs of the animals that presumably helped to breathe while lightening the skeleton.
“We’ve been struck by just how hollow this animal was — it’s filled with air spaces,” said lead author Chris Barker, a university PhD student, in a press release. “Parts of its skeleton must have been pretty sensitive.”
Researchers said all the fossils found are likely to originate from the same individual animal, which belongs to a previously unknown dinosaur genus. The discovery was called a “rare find.”
“The record of the ‘mid’ Cretaceous period theropod dinosaurs in Europe is not that great, so it was really exciting to be able to increase our understanding of the diversity of dinosaur species from this time,” Barker said.
The university said individuals and families found the bones in 2019, all of whom donated their discoveries to nearby dinosaur museum.
“The joy of finding the bones that we discovered was absolutely fantastic,” told university Robin Ward, an amateur fossil hunter who found one of the fossils. “I thought they were unusual, and when we visited the Dinosaur Isle Museum, they took them along. They instantly realized these were something rare and asked if we could donate them to the museum to be thoroughly examined.”
“It appeared distinct from the marine reptile vertebrae I have seen in the past,” said James Lockyer, who discovered another of the fossils. “I was looking for a position at Shanklin and had been told and heard that I wouldn’t find a lot there. But, I’m still making sure I’m checking for things most people don’t, and it paid off on this occasion.”
The new fossils will be exhibited at the Dinosaur Isle Museum in Sandown, on the Isle of White, well-known as one of Europe’s best places to find dinosaur remains. The findings of the researchers are to be published in the Palaeontology journal Papers.
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