Friday 19 December 2014

100 dinosaur species 'roamed UK'

Published 02/07/2014 | 00:07

An artist impression of a scene reconstruction during the Early Cretaceous period, represented by fossils found on the Isle of Wight (Siri Scientific Press/PA)
An artist impression of a scene reconstruction during the Early Cretaceous period, represented by fossils found on the Isle of Wight (Siri Scientific Press/PA)
The UK's rich reptilian past has largely been ignored in popular culture, palaeontologist Dean Lomax says

More than 100 different species of dinosaur once roamed Britain including three cousins of American top predator Tyrannosaurus rex, according to the author of a new book.

Yet the UK's rich reptilian past has largely been ignored in popular culture, says palaeontologist Dean Lomax.

British dinosaurs included stegosaurs, ankylosaurs, ornithopods and gigantic sauropods, one of which may be the largest dinosaur found in Europe.

In addition, at least three different types of tyrannosaur - carnivorous theropods which stood on two legs - hunted in the British Isles.

"The three British tyrannosaurs would have resembled their infamous cousin, T. rex, but were smaller - between three and five metres in length - possessed longer forelimbs, were more agile and, geologically speaking, a lot older," said Dr Lomax, visiting scientist at the University of Manchester, who has worked on dinosaur projects around the world.

Most UK dinosaur remains have been recovered from rocks dating to the Middle Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

The majority come from Oxfordshire and the Isle of Wight, but significant finds have also been made in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The first ever dinosaur to be described in 1824, Megalosaurus, was found in Oxfordshire.

Dr Lomax said: "Growing up in Yorkshire, I had always wanted to learn about the dinosaurs discovered here, yet all the books I read, or programmes watched on TV, made only passing comments to some of the remains discovered in the British Isles."

Dinosaurs Of The British Isles, by Dean Lomax and Nobumichi Tamura, is published by Siri Scientific Press.

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