In an exciting discovery, palaeontologists have discovered a new species of dinosaur. The scientists at the University of Southampton in England announced on August 11 that this discovery is based on pieces of four bones that had been “previously unknown to science” . They believe that this new dinosaur belongs to the Theropod dinosaurs, a group that includes both, the famed Tyrannosaurus rex and modern-day birds.
In the study that will be published in the journal Papers in Palaeontology, the scientists estimate that the dinosaur lived in the Cretaceous period, which was around 115 million years ago. It walked on two legs like the predatory T-rex and is estimated to have been up to 4m (13ft) long. They have determined that the bones were from the neck, back, and tail of the new dinosaur.
The dino has now been named Vectaerovenator inopinatus by scientists. The name refers to the large air spaces in some of its bones, one of the traits that helped the scientists identify its origins. These air sacs were extensions of lungs and are also seen in modern birds—they likely help fuel an efficient breathing system while also making the skeleton lighter.
"We were struck by just how hollow this animal was—parts of its skeleton must have been rather delicate," said Chris Barker, a PhD student at the University who led the study, in their statement. "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. Although we have enough material to be able to determine the general type of dinosaur, we'd ideally like to find more to refine our analysis."
The four fossils were found in 2019 in three separate discoveries in The Isle of Wight, one of the top locations for dinosaur remains in Europe. This study confirmed that the bones found were likely from the same dinosaur, which probably lived north of where its bones were found. Two of these bones were found by regular fossil hunters who were visiting the island in hopes of finding new dinosaur bones; the third was found by a local who was walking along the beach. The new fossils will be displayed at the Dinosaur Isle Museum at Sandown on the Isle of White.
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