By Alex Glenn • 06 October 2021 • 8:09
Scientists identify oldest-known meat-eating dinosaur from the UK after bones were rediscovered at London’s Natural History Museum.
The fossil fragments that belong to the dinosaur were originally discovered in Wales years ago. Scientists have now been able to determine that they belong to a new species of dinosaurs. The bones were rediscovered at the Natural History Museum in London. They were found in a drawer mixed in with crocodile materials.
Scientists have named the chicken size animal as Pendraig milnerae. It would have been around one-metre-long including its tail. It has been identified as being the oldest known meat-eating dinosaur to be discovered in the UK.
Dr Stephan Spiekman, a research fellow at the museum commented: “Pendraig milnerae lived near the beginning of the evolution of the meat-eating dinosaurs.
“It’s clear from the bones we have that it was a meat-eater, but early in the evolution of this group these animals were quite small, in contrast to the very famous meat-eating dinosaurs like T. rex which evolved much later.”
Dr Angela Milner who died earlier this year was key to the discovery.
Senior researcher in paleobiology at the museum, Dr Susannah Maidment admitted: “I told Angela that I couldn’t find the specimen, and so she went away and about three hours later she had it.
“She found it in a drawer with crocodile material. She must have had the specimen in her mind’s eye from when she had previously looked through that drawer.
“This paper would not have been possible without her.”
The scientists believe that the new species could help prove that island dwarfism existed on the island.
Dr Spiekman explained: “The area where these specimens were found was most likely an island during the time period in which it lived,
“Species which live on islands often tend to become smaller than those on the mainland in a phenomenon called island dwarfism.
“We need more evidence from more species to investigate the potential for island dwarfism in this area during that time, but if we could prove it, it would be the earliest known occurrence of this evolutionary phenomenon.”
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Originally from the UK, Alex is based in Almeria and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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