Scientists have discovered what they believe is a new species of arthropod – making it a close relative of Tyrannosaurus rex. A team of researchers said they recently discovered rare skeletons in Britain that seem to be related to the iconic species.
Paleontologists at the University of Southampton said they recently analyzed four skeletons on Isle of Wight, off the southern coast of mainland England. The bones are from the neck, back and tail of the new dinosaur, named Vectaerovenator inopinatus.
The Vectaerovenator inopinatus, thought to have grown to about 13 feet long, roamed the Earth during the Cretaceous period, about 115 million years ago. Scientists believe it was arthropods, a group of carnivorous dinosaurs that often walked on two legs instead of four.
The dinosaur is named for the vast air space in some of its bones – a trait that helps scientists connect it with arthropods, researchers say. said. The “airbags”, also found in birds today, are extensions of animal lungs capable of supporting breathing while making the skeleton lighter.
Lead author Chris Barker, a graduate student at the university, said in a press release: “We were amazed how empty this animal was – it had holes in the air. “Parts of its skeleton have to be quite fragile.”
All the fossils found were likely to belong to the same animal, the researchers said, of a species of dinosaur that had never been known before. They called the discovery a “rare finding.”
“The European record for arthropods from the ‘middle’ Cretaceous period in Europe is not so large, so it would be really interesting to be able to improve our understanding of the diversity of these,” Barker said. dinosaurs from this point.
The university said the skeletons discovered in 2019 by individuals and families all donated their findings to the nearby dinosaur museum.
Robin Ward, an amateur fossil hunter who found one of the fossils, told the university: “The joy of finding the bones we discovered was absolutely amazing. “I thought they were special so I brought them with us when we visited the Dinosaur Island Museum. They immediately knew these were rare and asked if we could donate them to the museum to be fully researched. is not.”
James Lockyer, who found another fossil, told the university: “It looks different from the sea reptile vertebrae that I have seen in the past. “I was looking for a place in Shanklin and had been informed and read that I wouldn’t find much there. However, I always make sure that I look for areas that others are not looking for, and on this occasion it paid off. “
The new fossils will be on display at the Dinosaur Isle Museum at Sandown on the Isle of White, which is famous for being one of the best places in Europe to find dinosaur remains. The researchers’ findings will be published in the journal Papers in Paleontology.