» Home > In the News

Isle of Wight of Monsters

2 October 2021

At https://phys.org/news/2021-09-species-large-predatory-dinosaur-isle.html … the Isle of Wight has been a good hunting ground for dinosaur fossil bones over the years. The Wight is derived from the chalk which caps the island – although it is also famous for its cliff of coloured sands. Paleontologists from nearby Southampton University assign the newly discovered dinosaur pair to a new species of spinosaurid, predatory theropods. Their unusual crocodile like skulls allowed them to hunt prey both on land and in water [it is thought]. The bones were actually found on a beach over a period of several years, accumulating from out of a cliff. They derive from the Wessex Formation – which is described as Early Cretaceous. The phase prior to the chalk formation is thought to have been laid down in at least three separate blocks [in southern Britain]. Dinosaur remains are commonly found beneath the chalk. For example, a spinosaurid skeleton had previously been dug out of a quarry in Surrey – in 1983. The Wessex Formation is dated 125 million years ago on the geological column.

One of the pair has been names the 'horned crocodile-faced hell heron' which is a bit of a mouth full but it relates to its feeding habits – which are said to be similar to a heron in the modern world, having a varied diet. Herons catch an assortment of small aquatic animals such as fish and frogs – but they also eat terrestrial prey away from the river bank. The other one was named 'Milner's Riverbank Hunter' after paleontologist Angela Milner.

The early Cretaceous rocks on the Isle of Wight are said to represent an ancient flood plain environment with a climate warmer than in the modern world. In fact, a balmy Mediterranean climate has been suggested.

Skip to content