‘Absolutely bizarre’ – Scientists have discovered another new species of dinosaur on the Isle of Wight | Albiseyler

Vectidromeus insularis

Vectidromeus insularis was discovered on the Isle of Wight. Credit: Emily Willoughby

Discovery of the new species marks the second member of the hypsilophodont family identified on the Isle of Wight, suggesting that Europe hosted a unique group of small herbivorous dinosaurs, distinct from those in Asia and North America.

Scientists have revealed the discovery of a new species of small plant-eating dinosaur on the Isle of Wight in southern England (UK). on the Isle of Wight, which is located in southern England. Appointed Vectidromeus insularis, this species represents the second find of the hypsilophodont family on the island. This suggests that Europe had its own family of small herbivorous dinosaurs, distinct from those found in Asia and North America.

Hypsilophodonts were a group of nimble, bipedal herbivores that lived about 125 million years ago. The animals lived alongside early tyrannosaurs, spinosaurs and Iguanodon. The new fossil represents an animal about the size of a chicken, but it was a juvenile and could have grown much larger.

Vectidromeus is a close relative Hypsilophodon foxii, a dinosaur originally described in the Victorian era and one of the first dinosaurs to be described from relatively complete remains. Small and gracile, with bird-like hind limbs, hypsilophodonts were used by the famous scientist Thomas Henry Huxley as evidence that birds were relatives of dinosaurs.

Hypsilophodon is also found on the Isle of Wight, but has been found higher up in the rocks, perhaps two or three million years younger than Vectidromeus. Vectidromeus differs in the details of the iliac bones, suggesting that it is a closely related but distinct species.

The study was led by Dr Nicholas Longrich from the Milner Center for Evolution at the University of Bath. He said: “Paleontologists have been working on the Isle of Wight for over a century and these fossils have played an important role in the history of vertebrate palaeontology, but we are still making new discoveries about the dinosaur fauna as the sea erodes. new reef fossils.”

The Chalky the layers on the Isle of Wight are hundreds of meters thick and can last several million years – the scientific consensus is still not entirely clear on how old they are – so the fossils can sample a range of evolving ecosystems, each with a different set of species. .

The discovery was made in a collaboration led by the University of Bath together with University of PortsmouthIsle of Wight Dinosaur Museum in Sandown and local fossil collectors.

“Working with the amateur community is really important,” Longrich said. “It’s good to have a diverse team; each brings something different to the table. These people have spent their lives collecting and preparing these fossils, they know details about the rock, geology, and bones that no one else knows. Everyone sees different pieces of the puzzle.”

Study co-author Professor Dave Martill, from the University of Portsmouth, said: “It is absolutely bizarre that so many new dinosaurs have been discovered on the Isle of Wight.

“Vectidromeus.” is the seventh new species of dinosaur to be discovered in the past four years. It all depends on amateur collectors.”

Over the years, dozens of small plant-eating dinosaurs have been placed in the hypsilophodont family, but revisions to the dinosaur family tree have led to their reassignment to other branches of the tree. Hypsilophodon as the only species left in the family.

Dr. Longrich said: “We had a strange situation where one of the first dinosaur families to be recognized had only one species. And now we have two.

“Interestingly, they’re not particularly closely related to anything found in North America, Asia or the Southern Hemisphere.”

“We’re still piecing together how all these dinosaurs are related and how dinosaurs moved between continents. After Pangea broke up, there was a great deal of isolation, leading to different types of dinosaurs evolving on each continent.

Co-author and curator of Dinosaur Isle Museum Dr. Martin Munt said: “This exciting new find is the latest in a series of new discoveries from the Isle of Wight.

“We are enjoying a wonderful time of cooperation between collectors, researchers and the museum. New finds are found on the coast, in private collections and museum warehouses.

“The museum’s mission is to try to ensure that as many new finds as possible remain here on the Island for the benefit of our Island community; we anticipate that this dinosaur will be on display in the museum for the October school holidays.’

Reference: “Vectidromeus insularis, a new hypsilophodontid dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous Wessex Formation of the Isle of Wight, England” by Nicholas R. Longrich, David M. Martill, Martin Munt, Mick Green, Mark Penn and Shaun Smith, 13 September 2023 . Cretaceous research.
DOI: 10.1016/j.cretes.2023.105707

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