Recent Finds and Research
As each year goes by there is always the possibility of an exciting fossil being discovered, or of one of our existing fossils in the collection being featured in a scientific paper. When this happens we will do our best to let you know about it. However excavation takes some time, as does research if it is to be done properly, and publication often needs to wait until a new article can be professionally reviewed and then printed or produced on-line.
Sometimes we need to wait before reporting a new find so that the initial research can be finished. Some of our viewers may notice that articles appear here after the year has gone by - that just means we were waiting for the research to be published. Although it may seem an unusual thing to do we would not wish to rush the announcement of new finds until the scientific research had been robustly done.
We hope you enjoy reading about our new discoveries.
Information on this page is researched and produced by Trevor Price (with contributions from Alex Peaker).
We continue to see more objects coming into the museum. This has included the steady accumulation of dinosaur material from at least two large Baryonichid dinosaurs that we hope to be able to display more of in the not too distant future.
Analysis of the baryonichid material continues, and this year research on the maxilla and pre-maxilla of the Neovenator type specimen at Dinosaur Isle has also been the subject of published research.
Our library continues to grow with the addition of research papers. Thanks to the contributors who continue to send us copies - or advise of new publications. The library has also benefited this year from a generous gift from Dr. Pam Martin-Lawrence who has donated a number of student text books.
Barker, C.T., Naish, D., Newham, E., Katsamenis, O.L. & Dyke, G. 2017. Complex neuroanatomy in the rostrum of the Isle of Wight theropod Neovenator salerii. Nature/Scientific Reports. June 2017. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-03671-3.
A number of finds have come into the museum so far this year - more about those will be posted here.
A partial skeleton of the dinosaur Valdosaurus has been the subject of research. The importance of this find (excavated by Nick Chase, and donated by the National Trust) is that, although incomplete, it is the largest set of remains found in articulation of this particular dinosaur. Publication has taken place of the findings of the research (reference below), and the cleaned fossils are now fully on display in a new case at Dinosaur Isle.
Our library continues to grow with the addition of research papers. Thanks to the contributors who continue to send us copies - or advise of new publications. The library has also seen steady use by visiting students and other researchers.
Barrett, P.M. 2016. A new specimen of Valdosaurus canaliculatus (Ornithopoda: Dryosauridae) from the Lower Cretaceous of the Isle of Wight, England. Memoirs of Museum Victoria. 74: 29-48 ISSN 1447-2546 (Print) 1447-2554 (On-line).
A number of finds have come into the museum so far this year - more about those will be posted here.
Last year two pieces of pterosaur rostrum came into the museum from two different collectors, and from locations many miles apart. Both are new and unusual.
One of those (donated by Mr Will Thurbin of Niton) has recently been identified by Dr. David Martill of the University of Portsmouth as Coloborhynchus sp. - a new discovery for the Island. His research paper is listed below. The Coloborhynchus piece is catalogued as IWCMS.2014.82.
We await research on the second specimen to identify what pterosaur it has come from (its shape is unusual, in comparison to other known pterosaurs from the Island). The second piece of rostrum was found by Mr Glyn Watson at Yaverland, and is numbered IWCMS.2014.86.
Since the finding of Caulkicephalus trimicrodon about ten years earlier there has been a gap in pterosaur research - now two different fossils arrive at once!
Our library continues to grow with the addition of research papers. Thanks to the contributors who are sending us copies - or advising of new publications. Thanks are also due to Philippa Stacey who has been sorting through a number of our books on geotechnical, geomorphological and coastal instability.
Martill. D.M. 2015. First occurrence of the pterosaur Coloborhynchus (Pterosauria, Ornithocheiridae) from the Wessex Formation (Lower Cretaceous) of the Isle of Wight, England. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.peola.2015.03.004
A number of interesting specimens have come into the museum this year; the largest group of which (as always) are the thousands brought in by the public for identification, and the far larger number found by school children. As the year draws to a close we will list some of our more interesting finds here. The Valdosaurus dinosaur mentioned as a donation last year has now gone out on display in our main gallery (and fingers crossed when there are fewer visitors in we will be able to post a view of the display on the website).
This year has seen the publication of a volume of work on fossils from the north coast of the Isle of Wight. Published in the Transactions of the Royal Society are a number of articles, some of which feature fossils held in the Isle of Wight collections of Dinosaur Isle. As this page is updated we will list the relevant individual papers and the fossils. Please bear with us while this is done. We are grateful to Dr. Martin Munt of the Natural History Museum for generously donating a copy for our research library.
Last year the Island featured as part of the Jehol-Wealden Conference (featured on our 'Latest News' webpage). One of the outcomes of that conference is the publication of a number of research articles in the November 2014 issue of the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. Click here for a link to the Journal.
This year has also seen a huge effort in bringing together our research library (previously dispersed around the building and at a remote store). This process has never been done before so it was quite a task to find out what we had. We have been fortunate to have been provided with articles from staff, researchers, as bequests and from other benefactors over the years. (Some journal runs reach back over 150 years) but the task of getting it all catalogued is huge and is still underway.
We are beginning to identify a number of areas where we could do with further donations, for example with regard to Cretaceous marine vertebrates from the Isle of Wight (although we do have a large number of theropod papers, and strangely lots of papers on forams and sponges). Past donations have resulted in a diverse library, but we still welcome donations of appropriate journals, research articles, maps, photographs etc. Copies of Cretaceous Research, Tertiary Research and Caeonozoic Research are specially welcome.
Please contact Trevor Price [email: firstname.lastname@example.org] if you wish to donate any surplus articles you may have. We also welcome enquires from researchers and will help where we can.
Lockwood, J.A.F., Lockley, M.G. & Pond, S. 2014. A review of footprints from the Wessex Formation (Wealden Group, Lower Cretaceous) at Hanover Point, the Isle of Wight, southern England. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 113. p707-720.
Price, T. 2014. New dinosaur footprints exposed in rocks of the Wessex Formation, Lower Cretaceous, at Sandown, Isle of Wight, southern England. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 113. p758-769.
Ross, A.J. & Smith, A. (Eds). 2014. The Fauna and Flora of the Insect Limestone (late Eocene), Isle of Wight, UK Volume 1. Earth and Environmental Science. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Vol 104 parts 3 & 4.
Young, M.T., Steel, L., Foffa, D., Price, T., Naish, D. & Tennant, J.P. 2014 Marine tethysuchian crocodyliform from the ?Aptian-Albian (Lower Cretaceous) of the Isle of Wight, UK. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 113, p854-871.
Remains of the hind quarters and tail of an Island plant-eating dinosaur were donated this summer. The creature was found in the Wealden Group deposits of the West Wight and is still in 'articulation' with the tail, hips and legs intact. The remains are of a Valdosaurus, and were a joint donation from the National Trust and collector Nick Chase. Research will take place shortly to compare the animal with other known specimens. This dinosaur type was recently the subject of some comparitive research using known bones from various museums, including those from Dinosaur Isle, but the new Island specimen should greatly add to our existing knowledge.
Research at the end of last year and earlier this year has identified a possible new exciting result for one of our existing dinosaurs. We await the publication of the research.
A new area of dinosaur footprints is in the process of being written up by staff member Trevor Price - when this has been published the information will be added to these pages. Further research on Island dinosaur footprints was announced at a conference in September and we await the publication of the conference proceedings in due course.
One of our older objects - 3 blocks of rock containing a number of vertebrae, ribs and shoulder girdle from a plesiosaur has been recognized as a new genus and species; so we can add another holotype to the list of fossils on display at Dinosaur Isle.
More recently the delicate nasal bones of the Island dinosaur Eotyrannus featured for comparison with a young dinosaur found in China; and one of our sauropod vertebrae is mentioned in a paper on African dinosaurs. Two of our delicate turtle skulls (from Sandownia harrisi and Helochelydra nopcsai) featured in another paper on a new Chinese turtle.
Benson, R.B.J., Ketchum, H.F., Naish, D. & Turner, L. 2013. A new leptocleidid (Sauropterygia, Plesiosauria) from the Vectis Formation (Early Barremian-early Aptian; Early Cretaceous) of the Isle of Wight and the evolution of Leptocleididae, a controversial clade. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. Vol 11. Issue 2, 233-250.
Choiniere, J.N., Clark, J.M., Forster, C.A. Norell, M.A., Eberth, D.A., Erikson, G.M., Chu, H. & Xu, X. 2013. A juvenile specimen of a new coelurosaur (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Middle-Late Jurassic Shishugou Formation of Xinjiang, People's Republic of China. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. DOI:10.1080/14772019.2013.781067
Mannion, P.D. & Barrett, P.M. 2013. Additions to the sauropod dinosaur fauna of the Cenomanian (early Late Cretaceous) Kem Kem beds of Morocco: Palaeobiogeographical implications of the mid-Cretaceous African sauropod fossil record. Cretaceous Research. 45 (2013) p49-59.
Rabi, M., Zhou, C., Wings, O., Ge, S. & Joyce, W.G. 2013. A new xinjiangchelyid turtle from the Middle Jurassic of Xinjiang, China and the evolution of the basipterygoid process in Mesozoic turtles. BMC Evolutionary Biology. 2013, 13:203
A number of interesting fossils have been found so far this year. One of the more exciting has been the crown of a large dinosaur tooth found by a Tasmanian couple on holiday on the Island. It is pictured here on the beach at Yaverland shortly after it was found (£2 coin for scale). The photograph was taken by Trevor Price, on the beach where it was found, prior to the object being donated to the museum.
Now part of the collection (numbered IWCMS 2012.594) it is evidence for one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs on the Island - Baryonyx. Given the condition of the tooth there may be more remains to be found; so fingers crossed! The tooth was generously donated by Annette and John McCarthy.
Research is continuing into two of our Wealden reptiles. Publication may take place in 2013. We will let you know the results. A review of some of the crabs and lobster fossils from the north coast of the Island has featured in a new paper (reference below).
Quayle, W.J. & Collins, J.S.H. 2012. A review of the decapod crustaceans from the Tertiary of the Isle of Wight, Hampshire, U.K, with description of three new species. Bulletin of the Mizunami Fossil Museum. No. 38. p33-51.
An excavation at the beginning of the year uncovered the remains of a partial skeleton of a large sauropod. It is likely to be the subject of research for many years. We will let you know what happens. The specimen has been numbered IWCMS.2010.20 and is currently being cleaned, conserved and partially reassembled. Skeletal remains currently consist of much of the pelvis, hind limb bones, pedal phalanges and claws, and a quantity of rib segments. A number of gastroliths (stomach stones) were also found in amongst the remains.
Research into a complex neural arch from an anterior caudal vertebra (MIWG.5384) has resulted in it being identified from a new rebbachisaurid (Dinosaur: Sauropoda) from the Wessex Formation of the Isle of Wight.
Originally collected by Steve Hutt in 1983, the bone has been carefully conserved due to its fragile nature. The fossil came from the soft mudstones of the Lower Cretaceous Wessex Formation near Chilton Chine. Although there is not enough material to give this creature a new name it is an important addition to the known European rebbachisaurid dinosaurs Demandasaurus and Histriasaurus boscarollii.
Further specimens (from the Isle of Wight) of the small dinosaur Valdosaurus have been the subject of research that indicates that this dinosaur may have been more common than previously thought.
A detailed review of the Isle of Wight Cretaceous turtle Helochelydra nopcsai has been published by the Palaeontological Association. The skull has been preserved in remarkable detail which has enabled it to be compared with similar turtles found elsewhere.
Barrett, P.M., Butler, R.J., Twitchett, R.J. & Hutt, S. 2011. New material of Valdosaurus canaliculatus (Ornithischia: Ornithopoda) from the Lower Cretaceous of southern England. Special Papers in Palaeaontology, The Palaeontological Association, 86, pp 131-163
Joyce, W.G., Chapman, S.D., Moody, R.T.J. & Walker, C.A. 2011. The skull of the Solemydid turtle Helochelydra nopcsai from the early Cretaceous of the Isle of Wight (UK) and a review of Solemydidae. Special Papers in Palaeontology. The Palaeontological Association. 86. pp75-97.
Mannion, P.D., Upchurch, P. & Hutt, S. 2011. New rebbachisaurid (Dinosauria: Sauropoda) material from the Wessex Formation (Barremian, Early Cretaceous), Isle of Wight, United Kingdom. Cretaceous Research. 32 (2011) 774-780.
A fine specimen of a Wealden cycadeoid stem fragment was acquired from collector Andrew Cocks. When alive, over 120 milion years ago, it would have formed part of a pineapple-shaped plant with long frond-type leaves.
It has been numbered as IWCMS.2010.7.
The diamond shape patterns are similar to those that can be found in modern cycads and tree ferns. The five-pence coin is for scale - it is 18mm in diameter.
Hooker, J.J. 2010. The 'Grand Coupure' in the Hampshire Basin, UK: taxonomy and stratigraphy of the mammals on either side of this major Palaeogene faunal turnover. In: Whittaker, J.E. & Hart, M.B. (eds) Micropalaeontology, Sedimentary Environments and Stratigraphy: A Tribute to Dennis Curry (1912-2001). The Micropalaeontological Society, Special Publications, p147-215.
Sweetman, S.C. & Insole, A.N. 2010. The plant debris beds of the Early Cretaceous (Barremian) Wessex Formation of the Isle of Wight, southern England: their genesis and palaeontological significance. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 292 (2010) p409-424.
Sweetman, S.C. & Martill, D.M. 2010. Pterosaurs of the Wessex Formation (Early Cretaceous, Barremian) of the Isle of Wight, southern England: a review with new data. Journal of Iberian Geology 36 (2) 2010: 225-242.
Publications this year include work on three specific dinosaurs and pterodactyl diversity from the Isle of Wight. A comprehensive review of English ornithopod dinosaurs found on the Island and elsewhere was published by Peter Galton.
Jonah Choiniere from The George Washington University, Washington DC, visited us at the beginning of May to look at the type specimens of Neovenator and Eotyrannus. Jonah sent us this message about his research.
"What am I doing here? I'm here to look at the type specimens of Neovenator and Eotyrannus. My PhD research focuses on describing new species of theropods (meat-eating) dinosaurs from the Late Jurassic of China, and some of their closest relatives are from the Isle of Wight. I will therefore be comparing the skeletal anatomy of the new Chinese theropods and the Isle of Wight theropods with an interest in understanding the evolution of these interesting animals."
Benson, R. B. J., Brusatte, S. L., Hutt, S. and Naish, D. 2009. A new large basal tetanuran (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Wessex Formation (Barremian) of the Isle of Wight, England. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 29(2): 612-615, June 2009.
Benson, R.B.J., Carrano, M.T. and Brusatte, S.L. 2009. A new clade of archaic large-bodied predatory dinosaurs (Theropoda: Allosauroidea) that survived to the latest Mesozoic. Naturwissenschaften DOI 10.1007/s00114-009-0614-x. Published online: 14 October 2009.
Galton, P.M. 2009. Notes on Neocomian (Lower Cretaceous) ornithopod dinosaurs from England - Hypsilophodon, Valdosaurus, "Camptosaurus", "Iguanodon" - and referred specimens from Romania and elsewhere. Revue de Paleobiologie, Geneve (juin 2009). 28 (1): 211-273. ISSN 0253-6730
Mannion P. D. 2009. A rebbachisaurid sauropod from the Lower Cretaceous of the Isle of Wight, England. Cretaceous Research. 30 (2009) 521-526.
Witton, M. P., Martill, D. M. and Green, M. 2009. On pterodactyloid diversity in the British Wealden (Lower Cretaceous) and a reappraisal of "Palaeornis" cliftii Mantell, 1984. Cretaceous Research. (2009) doi: 10.1016/j.cretres.2008.12.004 p1-11.
Work in 2008 has included further research into Neovenator and the histology of Pterosaurs. Whilst some of our larger animals were reported on, the smallest didn't go unobserved. Two of our midges featered in a paper on insects found in Island Cretaceous tree resin.
Brusatte, S. L., Benson, R. B. J. and Hutt, S. 2008. The osteology of Neovenator salerii (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Wealden Group (Barremian) of the Isle of Wight. Monograph of the Palaeontographical Society, London: 1-75, pls 1-45. (Publ. No. 631, part of Vol. 162 for 2008).
Heads, S.W. 2008. A new species of Yuripopovia from the early Cretaceous of the Isle of Wight (Coleorrhnycha: Progonocimicidae). Br. J. Ent. Nat. Hist., 21: 2008 p 1624.1-7
Jarzembowski, E.A., Azar, D. & Nel, A. 2008. A new chironomid (Insecta: Diptera) from Wealden amber (Lower Cretaceous) of the Isle of Wight (UK). Geologica Acta, Vol 6, No. 3. pp 285-291
Steel, L. 2008. The palaeohistology of pterosaur bone: an overview. Zittelinia. B28, p109-125.
Hooker, J. 2007. Bipedal browsing adaptations of the unusual Late Eocene-earliest Oligocene tylopod Anoplotherium (Artiodactyla, Mammalia). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 151, 609-659.
Paul, G.S. 2007. A revised taxonomy of the iguanodont dinosaur genera and species. Cretaceous Research. doi 10.1016/j.cretres.2007.04.009
Heads, S. W. 2006. A new caddisfly larval case (Insecta, Trichoptera) from the Lower Cretaceous Vectis Formation (Wealden Group) of the Isle of Wight, southern England. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association. 117, 307-310.
Sweetman, S.C. 2006. A gobiconodontid (Mammalia, Eutriconodonta) from the Early Cretaceous (Barremian) Wessex Formation of the Isle of Wight, southern Britain. Palaeontology. Vol 49. Part 4. pp 889-897.
Sweetman, S.C. & Underwood, C.J. 2006. A neoselachian shark from the non-marine Wessex Formation (Wealden Group: early Cretaceous, Barremian) of the Isle of Wight, southern England. Palaeontology. Vol. 49. Part 4. pp 457-465.
Caulkicephalus trimicrodon - a new species of flying reptile from the Isle of Wight.
Around 122 million years ago, the carcase of a pterosaur was washed into the mud at the bottom of a river. It lay there undisturbed until a few years ago, when coastal erosion removed it from its rocky tomb. Parts of the skull and wing bones were found on the beach by several different local collectors. Other parts may have been washed away already.
Pterosaurs were winged reptiles that lived at the same time as dinosaurs. The earliest pterosaurs are found in Triassic rocks in Italy, around 235 million years old. They survived until the end of the Cretaceous Period, by which point many large forms existed, with wingspans of over 12 metres. The reason for their extinction 65 million years ago is a mystery, but it was the end for many other animal and plant groups on Earth.
The new pterosaur from Sandown Bay belongs to a family called the Ornithocheiridae (‘bird hand’). They are large pterosaurs with crested skulls, long pointed teeth, and wingspans of around 4-6 metres. Ornithocheirids have been found in Cretaceous rocks in many parts of the world, particularly the UK, Brazil and North Africa.
The Sandown pterosaur is different from any that have been previously discovered, so it has been given a new name: Caulkicephalus trimicrodon. The generic name is derived from ‘caulkhead’, the traditional local name for people who caulked ships in the Solent shipyards. The species trimicrodon refers to the three small teeth near the front of the jaw.
The bones, which include the braincase, upper jaw and wing bones, were found on Yaverland beach by G. Leng, T. Winch, D. Davies, M. New, M. Munt, and L. Steel. The new pterosaur is described in the latest issue of the scientific journal Cretaceous Research, by a scientific team including Dinosaur Isle Museum, University of Portsmouth and the Humboldt Museum in Berlin.
The research is published in: Steel, L., Martill, D. M. Unwin, D. M. and Winch, J. D. 2005. A new pterodactyloid pterosaur from the Wessex Formation (Lower Cretaceous) of the Isle of Wight, England. Cretaceous Research. 25, 686-698.
Figure 1. A reconstruction of the skull of Caulkicephalus trimicrodon by Lorna Steel.
The rostrum ('upper jaw')
Figure 2. Palatal view of the rostrum of C. trimicrodon
Figure 3. Right lateral view of the rostrum
Figure 4. Drawing of the distal portion of the rostrum
The two images shown in Figures 3 and 4 show the right lateral view of the rostrum (or upper part of the jaw). The rostrum is in three parts as can be seen in the photograph (Figure 2). The sockets for the teeth show that there are two prominent forward facing teeth at the snout, with three larger teeth behind on each side. Just to the left of the fracture (Figure 4) are sockets for three small teeth on each side. It is this feature that gives the species its name (trimicrodon = three-small-teeth). From this point back the teeth are staggered in alternate positions as can be seen in the palatal views below and in Figure 2. The preserved part of the rostrum is 29cm in length.
Figure 5. Drawings of the palatal view of the rostrum.
Figure 6. Anterior view of the rostrum.
This view of the 'snout' shows the position of the forward facing tooth sockets (dental alveoli). The small black spot seen in one of the sockets is the tip of a replacement tooth.
Figure 7. An unrelated pterosaur tooth shown for comparison.
Figure 8. Posterior view of the partial braincase.
Associated with the rostrum was a partial braincase which is assumed to come from the same individual. The image shows the back (posterior) view and the base of the skull crest.
Goldring, R., Pollard, J. E. and Radley, J. D. 2005 Trace fossils and pseudofossils from the Wealden strata (non-marine Lower Cretaceous) of southern England. Cretaceous Research. 26 665-685.
Nel, A., Petrulevicius, J. F. and Jarzembowski, E. E. 2005. New fossil Odonata from the European Cenozoic (Insecta: Odonata:Thaumatoneuridae, Aeshnidae, ?Idionychidae, Libellulidae) Neus Jahbuch fur Palaontologie Abanh 235 343-380.
Radley, J. D. 2005. Derived fossils in the southern English Wealden (non-marine early Cretaceous): a review. Cretaceous Research. 26 657-664.
Steel, L., Martill, D. M. Unwin, D. M. and Winch, J. D. 2005. A new pterodactyloid pterosaur from the Wessex Formation (Lower Cretaceous) of the Isle of Wight, England. Cretaceous Research. 25, 686-698.
Clarke, J. B 2004 A mineralogical method to determine cyclicity in the taphonomic and diagenetic history of fossilized bones. Leithaia 37, 281-284
Evans, S. E., Barrett, P. M. and Ward, D. J. 2004. The first record of lizards and amphibians from the Wessex Formation (Lower Cretaceous: Barremian) of the Isle of Wight, England. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association. 115, 239-247.
Naish, D., Martill, D. M., Cooper, D. and Stevens, K. A. 2004 Europe’s largest dinosaur? A giant brachiosaurid cervical vertebra from the Wessex Formation (Early Cretaceous) of southern England. Cretaceous Research. 25, 787-795.
Sweetman, S. 2004. The first record of velociraptorine dinosaurs (Saurischia, Theropoda) from the Wealden (Early Cretaceous, Barremian) of southern England. Cretaceous Research. 25, 353-364.
There are no papers identified for 2003.
Selden, P. 2002. First British Mesozoic spider, from Cretaceous amber of the Isle of Wight, southern England. Palaeontology. 45. 973-984.
Hutt, S., Naish, D., Martill, D. M., Barker, M. J. and Newbery, P. 2001. A preliminary account of a new tyrannosauroid theropod from the Wessex Formation (Early Cretaceous) of southern England. Cretaceous Research. 22, 227-242.
Martil, D. M. and Naish, D. 2001. Dinosaurs of the Isle of Wight. The Palaeontological Association. London 433pp.
Selden, P. A. 2001. Eocene spiders from the Isle of Wight with preserved respiratory structures. Palaeontology. 44 695-729.
|School find - 7th July 2005|
|On the 7th July 2005 this large fossil crocodile tooth was found by James, a Year 5 pupil from Birdham C of E Primary School, Chichester. It was found during one of our guided school fossil walks. The tooth is 24 mm long from tip to base; it has longitudinal grooves and a near-circular cross section. It may be from a large crocodile similar to Goniopholis which was swimming in the rivers at Yaverland over 122 Million years ago. This is only the crown of the tooth, if the root was still there the tooth would have been much longer. Complete teeth are rare. Its black colouration is due to the fossilization process - the fossil tooth contains a number of black iron compounds. The tooth is amongst the biggest found on this beach. |
|Strange, but true!|
|On the 2nd June 2005 this strange object was picked up off the foreshore at Yaverland. It is 16 centimetres long and 6 centimetres thick. Scientifically it is a coprolite, or fossil dinosaur dung (from the Greek Kopros = dung, and lite = mineral, from lithos = stone). It contains the digested remains of a bony meal eaten over 122 million years ago on the Isle of Wight. The lump would have dropped onto the ground as a large steaming heap, from a carnivorous dinosaur. Before it could be disturbed it was covered in mud and fossilized. It remained in the rock for millions of years, until it was found among the pebbles. The biggest lump is 6 centimetres in diameter. You can still see bits of smashed bone amongst the larger lumps which provides evidence that the dinosaur it came from was a carnivore. The coprolite has been given the Museum number IWCMS 2005.85, so it should be available for research for many years. |
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