Monday, May 27, 2024

125 million year old Ankylosaur fossil discovered in UK’s Island

United Kingdom: Scientists have uncovered the remains of a newly discovered ankylosur from the Island of Wight. Where fossil bones have been unearthed for hundreds of years.

The creature dates back to the Early Cretaceous, when Europe was fragmented as against a single land mass, made up of islands scattered across a subtropical sea. The island that Vectipelta barretti lived on was a humid environment with fern and conifer forests.

The ankylosaur would have shared the island with frogs, fish, turtles, crocodiles, lizards and small mammals. The region was part of a massive flood plain of a meandering river system. Every so often, a massive flood would wash away animals, trees and debris, depositing time capsules in short-lived pools. The remains of the ankylosaur was discovered in one of these natural caches.

Only one species of armoured dinosaur, Polacanthus has previously been unearthed in the region. The discovery of Vectipelta barretti sheds light on the biodiversity that existed in the region 140 million years ago.

The new species has more in common with ankylosaurs discovered in China, suggesting they moved freely from Asia to Europe in the Early Cretaceous period.

The new species of ankylosaur has been described in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. Senior author of the paper, Susie Maidmentsays, “When we put Vectipelta into a big evolutionary analysis to work out the relationship of all these different dinosaurs, we find that Polacanthus and Vectipelta are not actually very closely related. They are really quite far apart in terms of ankylosaur evolution, so it is really very clear that this is a different species.”

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