Isle of Wight dino is ‘most complete’ in more than 100 yearson July 10, 2024 at 5:41 am

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The remains of a huge plant-eating dinosaur is the most complete dinosaur found in 100 years.

artist's impression of a Comptonatus chasei, a new dinosaur species from the Isle of Wight.Image source, John Sibbick/University of Portsmouth/PA Wire

A new species of plant-eating dinosaur – that weighed as much as an African elephant – roamed the Isle of Wight around 125 million years ago, a new study suggests.

The specimen, with 149 bones in total, is believed to be the most complete dinosaur discovered in the UK in a 100 years.

Comptonatus chasei, named after fossil hunter Nick Chase and the place it was found, belongs to a group of plant-eating dinosaurs known as iguanodontians.

The large, bulky creatures are often described as the “cows of the Cretaceous period (145-66 million years ago)” by palaeontologists and were hunted by the meat-eating raptors.

Jeremy Lockwood, a PhD student at the University of Portsmouth, said:

“Evidence from fossil footprints found nearby shows it was likely to be a herding animal, so possibly large herds of these heavy dinosaurs may have been thundering around – if spooked by predators on the floodplains over 120 million years ago.”

The foot bones of Comptonatus chasei

Image source, University of Portsmouth/PA Wire

The study, published in the the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, looked at every part of the fossil – including skull, teeth, spine and leg bones.

The hip bone is reported to be “about the size of a dinner plate”.

Dr Susannah Maidment, senior researcher and palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum, said Comptonatus shows the fast rates of evolution in iguandontian dinosaurs during that time period.

She added the research could help them understand how ecosystems recovered after an extinction event at the end of the Jurassic Period, around 200-149 million years ago.

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