New research by paleontologists at the University of Southampton suggests that the four bones recently discovered on the Isle of Wight belong to new theropod dinosaur species, a group that already includes Tyrannosaurus. The dinosaur lived in the Cretaceous period 115 million years ago and is estimated to be up to 4 m long.
The bones were found on the Shanklin coastal strip last year and belong to the neck, back, and tail of a new dinosaur named Vectaerovenator inopinatus.
The name refers to the large air spaces in some of the bones, one of the traits that helped scientists identify its theropod origins. These air sacs, which can also be seen in modern birds, were an extension of the lungs and likely helped provide an efficient respiratory system as well as lighten the skeleton.
Scientific research has confirmed that the fossils most likely belong to the same dinosaur, and the exact location and time of the finds support this belief.
After examining four vertebrae, paleontologists at the University of Southampton have confirmed that the bones probably belong to a genus of dinosaurs previously unknown to science. Their findings will be published in the journal Papers in Palaeontology, co-authored with those who discovered the fossils.
Chris Barker, Ph. Parts of his skeleton were most likely quite fragile.
The data for mid-Cretaceous theropod dinosaurs in Europe are not very large, and the new discovery will provide an opportunity to expand scientists’ understanding of the diversity of dinosaur species at that time.