Dinosaur bones that were unearthed on England’s Isle of Wight belonged to a previously unknown species that roamed the Earth 115 million years ago. The bones belonged to a type of theropod species called Vectaerovenator inopinatus that was a close relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex.
Interestingly, the bones were not discovered by scientists but by visitors to the island on three separate occasions over several weeks who then handed over their findings to the Dinosaur Isle Museum at Sandown.
Palaeontologists from the University of Southampton closely analyzed four bones from the neck, back, and tail belonging to the new species (pictures can be seen here). They found that there were big air sacs in some of the bones which probably would have helped the dinosaur breathe easier in addition to helping it grow to such a large size (up to 13 feet) at the same time making its skeleton lighter in weight.
Chris Barker, who is a PhD student at the University of Southampton and who led the study, reiterated how significant this discovery was, “The record of theropod dinosaurs from the ‘mid’ Cretaceous period in Europe isn’t that great, so it’s been really exciting to be able to increase our understanding of the diversity of dinosaur species from this time.”
The scientists think that the species lived north of where the bones were found but over time the water brought its remains into the shallow sea next to the village of Shanklin.
The remains of the Vectaerovenator inopinatus weren’t the only significant things found on the Isle of Wight in recent years. In fact, many incredible discoveries have been unearthed there such as a 210-pound ammonite fossil that was found by two university students earlier this year. The extinct sea creature was part of the mollusc family and lived about 115 million years ago.
The fossilized tail from a dinosaur called iguanodon from around 125 million years ago was unearthed at the bottom of a crumbling cliff on the island. Iguanodons were herbivores that grew as tall as 30 feet and weighed over four tons.
When Storm Ciara hit the area, a footprint from a 130-million-year-old therapod called Neovenator was revealed on a beach on the island. The carnivore could grow as long as 25 feet and weighed as much as 4,400 pounds (almost 2,000 kilograms).
The fossilized jawbone of a 127-million-year-old pterosaur called Wightia declivirostris from China and Brazil was discovered on the island.
A massive super-pterosaur with a 20-foot wingspan and weighing as much as 650 pounds (295 kilograms) called Hatzegopteryx that lived 125 million years ago was unearthed deep in the island’s cliffs.
The fossil of a small crow-sized type of pterosaur called Vectidraco Daisymorrisae (named after the little girl who found it) that lived 115 million years ago was discovered on the island in 2008.
The remains of a miniature crocodile called Koumpiodontosuchus aprosdokiti that was just two feet long and lived about 126 million years ago was discovered in 2014.
The Isle of Wight is filled with significant historical remains and there are surely more of them just waiting to be found.