Researchers from the University of Southampton believe that four bones recently found on the Isle of Wight belong to a new species of dinosaur that could be related to the Tyrannosaurus rex.
This new theropod dinosaur would have lived in the Cretaceous period 115 million years ago and is estimated to have been up to four metres long.
The researchers have named it Vectaerovenator inopinatus, which refers to the large air spaces in the bones that were found. These bones come from the neck and tail of the dinosaur.
The bones were found in three separate discoveries and were given by those who found them to the Dinosaur Isle Museum at Sandown.
“The joy of finding the bones we discovered was absolutely fantastic. I thought they were special and so took them along when we visited Dinosaur Isle Museum. They immediately knew these were something rare and asked if we could donate them to the museum to be fully researched,” said Robin Ward, one of those who made the discovery and an avid fossil hunter.
The bones were studied by paleontologists from the the University of Southhampton and were confirmed to be from a dinosaur previously unknown. The findings are yet to be published but will be released in the journal Papers in Palaeontology.
“We were struck by just how hollow this animal was – it’s riddled with air spaces. Parts of its skeleton must have been rather delicate,” Chris Barker, a PhD student at the university who led the study said.
“The record of theropod dinosaurs from the ‘mid’ Cretaceous period in Europe isn’t that great, so it’s been really exciting to be able to increase our understanding of the diversity of dinosaur species from this time.”