New dinosaur related to T. rex discovered on Isle of Wight

A new species of dinosaur has been discovered on the Isle of Wight.

Palaeontologists at the University of Southampton believe four bones found at Shanklin last year belong to a new species of theropod dinosaur.

It lived in the Cretaceous period, 115 million years ago, and is estimated to have been up to 4m (13ft) long.

It has been named Vectaerovenator inopinatus and belongs to the group of dinosaurs that includes Tyrannosaurus rex and modern-day birds.

The name refers to the large air spaces found in some of the bones – from the neck, back and tail of the creature – which is one of the traits that helped the scientists identify its theropod origins.

These air sacs, also seen in modern birds, were extensions of the lung, and it is likely they “helped fuel an efficient breathing system while also making the skeleton lighter”, the University of Southampton said.

The fossils were found in three separate discoveries in 2019 and handed in to the nearby Dinosaur Isle Museum at Sandown, where they are being displayed.

Robin Ward, a regular fossil hunter from Stratford-upon-Avon, was visiting the Isle of Wight with his family when they made their discovery.

“The joy of finding the bones we discovered was absolutely fantastic,” he said.

James Lockyer, from Spalding, Lincolnshire, was also visiting the island when he found another of the bones.

“It looked different from marine reptile vertebrae I have come across in the past,” he said.

“I was searching a spot at Shanklin and had been told, and read, that I wouldn’t find much there.

“However, I always make sure I search the areas others do not, and on this occasion it paid off.”

Paul Farrell, from Ryde, added: “I was walking along the beach, kicking stones and came across what looked like a bone from a dinosaur.

“I was really shocked to find out it could be a new species.”

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