New Species of Iguanodontian Dinosaur Found on Isle of Wight


Reconstruction of Brighstoneus simmondsi Head

Reconstruction of the pinnacle of Brighstoneus simmondsi. Credit score: John Sibbick

  • Pure Historical past Museum and Brighstoneus simmondsi Left Dentary

    Brighstoneus simmondsi left dentary (jaw) in medial view. Credit score: Dr. Jeremy Lockwood

Scientists from the Pure Historical past Museum and College of Portsmouth have described a brand new genus and species of dinosaur from a specimen discovered on the Isle of Wight.

Following on from a new species of ankylosaur, new species of therapod, and two new species of spinosaur dinosaurs, Brighstoneus simmondsi is the newest in a bunch of recent dinosaur species described by Museum scientists in current weeks.

Brighstoneus and Mantellisaurs

Brighstoneus and Mantellisaurs. Credit score: John Sibbick

The brand new dinosaur is an iguanodontian, a bunch that additionally contains the enduring Iguanodon and Mantellisaurus. Till now, iguanodontian materials discovered from the Wealden Group (representing a part of the Early Cretaceous interval) on the Isle of Wight has often been known as considered one of these two dinosaurs – with extra gracile fossil bones assigned to Mantellisaurus and the bigger and extra strong materials assigned to Iguanodon.

Nasal and Maxilla

Nasal and Maxilla. Credit score: Dr. Jeremy Lockwood

Nevertheless, when Dr. Jeremy Lockwood — a PhD pupil on the Museum and College of Portsmouth — was analyzing the specimen, he got here throughout a number of distinctive traits that distinguished it from both of those different dinosaurs.

Brighstoneus simmondsi Dorsal Vertebra With Pathological Fracture

Brighstoneus simmondsi dorsal vertebra with pathological fracture. Credit score: Dr. Jeremy Lockwood

“For me, the variety of tooth was an indication,” Dr. Lockwood says. “Mantellisaurus has 23 or 24, however this has 28. It additionally had a bulbous nostril, whereas the opposite species have very straight noses. Altogether, these and different small variations made it very clearly a brand new species.”

The herbivorous dinosaur was about eight meters in size and weighed about 900kg. Revealed within the peer-reviewed Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, Dr. Lockwood describes the species and names it Brighstoneus simmondsi:  Brighstoneus after the village of Brighstone, close to to the excavation web site, and simmondsi honoring Mr. Keith Simmonds, who made the invention of the specimen in 1978.

The invention of this new species suggests that there have been much more iguanodontian dinosaurs within the Early Cretaceous of the UK than beforehand thought, and that merely assigning specimens from this era to both Iguanodon or Mantellisaurus should change.

“We’re six, perhaps seven million years of deposits, and I feel the genus lengths have been overestimated previously,” says Dr. Lockwood. “If that’s the case on the island, we could possibly be seeing many extra new species. It appears so unlikely to only have two animals being precisely the identical for thousands and thousands of years with out change.”

Museum scientist Dr. Susannah Maidment, a co-author of the paper, says: “The describing of this new species exhibits that there’s clearly a larger variety of iguanodontian dinosaurs within the Early Cretaceous of the UK than beforehand realized. It’s additionally displaying that the century-old paradigm that gracile iguanodontian bones discovered on the island belong to Mantellisaurus and huge components belong to Iguanodon can now not be substantiated.”

Jeremy Lockwood

Dr. Jeremy Lockwood in Compton Bay Isle of Wight. Credit score: Dr. Jeremy Lockwood

The Isle of Wight has lengthy been related to dinosaur discovery, and even yielded the essential specimens that led Sir Richard Owen to coin the time period Dinosauria. The authors conclude that the describing of Brighstoneus simmondsi as a brand new species requires a reassessment of Isle of Wight materials:

“British dinosaurs are definitely not one thing that’s performed and dusted in any respect,” says Dr. Lockwood. “I feel we could possibly be on to a little bit of a renaissance.”

Reference: “A brand new hadrosauriform dinosaur from the Wessex Formation, Wealden Group (Early Cretaceous), of the Isle of Wight, Southern England” 10 November 2021, Journal of Systematic Palaeontology.
DOI: 10.1080/14772019.2021.1978005

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