Exhibition: Wales's Newest Dinosaur
The skeleton of the new Welsh dinosaur is back on display at National Museum Cardiff.
The dinosaur is approximately 200 million years old, the oldest Jurassic dinosaur ever found in the UK. It belongs to the theropod group of dinosaurs and is related to Tyrannosaurus rex, although our dinosaur was walking the earth about 130 million years earlier than its more well known cousin.
The new Welsh dinosaur is a completely new species, previously unknown to scientists, making this discovery even more exciting.
What do we know about this new Welsh dinosaur?
- It was a carnivorous predator, eating small mammals, lizards and other reptiles
- It walked on two legs and had a long tail
- It was a warm-blooded animal and much of its body was probably covered in feathery down with quills along its back
- This dinosaur died young at about 50cm tall. If it had grown to its full size, it may have been approximately 80cm tall
- It lived near the sea, in a time when the Welsh climate was more like the Mediterranean and the seas were shallow and warm
- It died close to the shoreline then its body was washed out to sea and settled on the sea bed, where it became fossilised with the marine sediment and other small creatures such as sea urchins and small fish.
The rocks containing the fossilised dinosaur bones were found on the beach at Lavernock, Vale of Glamorgan, by two brothers Rob and Nick Hanigan, in March 2014. The keen fossil hunters were out for a walk, checking over the latest rock fall from the cliffs above, when they noticed interesting shapes in the rocks and took them away for closer examination. Scientists at National Museum Cardiff were able to identify the type of dinosaur and worked with palaeontologists at other institutions, including Dr David Martill at Portsmouth University, to establish this brand new species of dinosaur, never seen before.
More recently, fossilised bones from the foot of this dinosaur were found by Sam Davies in August 2015.
The fossils are contained in four blocks of rock, which will be on display in the Main Hall at National Museum Cardiff until 31 December 2016.
Admission is free.