The remains of two new dinosaur species have been found on the Isle of Wight with one of them being especially terrifying. Both dinosaurs inhabited the island about 125 million years ago.
Over a period of several years, over 50 dinosaur bones were found on a beach close to Brighstone – specifically in rocks at the Wessex Formation that date back over 125 million years during the Early Cretaceous Period. The remains have been identified as being two new species of predatory theropod dinosaurs called spinosaurids.
Interestingly, there has only been one other skeleton belonging to a spinosaurid that’s ever been found in the United Kingdom and that species was named Baryonyx. Those remains were discovered in a quarry in Surrey, England, back in 1983.
When the bones were found in the Wessex Formation, researchers were quite sure that they belonged to two previously unknown dinosaur species as explained by Chris Barker from the University of Southampton, “We found the skulls to differ not only from Baryonyx, but also one another, suggesting the UK housed a greater diversity of spinosaurids than previously thought.”
The first dinosaur was absolutely terrifying as its name Ceratosuchops inferodios translates to the “horned, crocodile-faced hell heron”. Scientists compared it to a much scarier version of today’s heron in reference to the similar way that it would have hunted its prey. The Ceratosuchops inferodios had several bumps and low horns located near its brow that it probably used to hunt.
The second dinosaur that was unearthed has been called Riparovenator milnerae and that name translates to “Milner’s riverbank hunter” in reference to the late British palaeontologist Angela Milner.
Based on the size of their skulls (1 meter or 3.3 feet), it is believed that both of these dinosaurs had bodies that measured about 9 meters in length (29.5 feet). Their most bizarre feature was that their skulls looked similar to a crocodile’s. Their skulls, however, were shaped differently from one another which suggested that they may have feasted on different prey. This probably would have allowed them to co-exist peacefully in the same area.
Neil J. Gostling from the University of Southampton, UK, and who supervised the project, stated, “This work has brought together universities, the Dinosaur Isle museum and the public to reveal these amazing dinosaurs and the incredibly diverse ecology of the south coast of England 125 million years ago.”
The bones belonging to the Ceratosuchops inferodios and Riparovenator milnerae will be put on display for the public to view at the Dinosaur Isle museum which is located in Sandown, Isle of Wight. A picture of what these two dinosaurs would have looked like can be seen here.
The study was published in Scientific Reports where it can be read in full.