Isle of Wight was 'dinosaur capital' of UK, according to new map

Rob Waugh

The Isle of Wight is a peaceful, picturesque south coast resort these days - but 125 million years ago, it was the 'dinosaur capital' of Britain, infested by terrifying predators and other huge beasts.

The island was home to dinosaurs such as a Sauropod which was five times longer than a double-decker bus and weighed more than 20 elephants.

The number of fossils found there beats even the famous 'Jurassic Coast' in Dorset for fossil finds more than 125 million years old, according to a new Dinosaur Map of Britain compiled by Dr Paul Barrett, from The Natural History Museum.

The island was also infested with razor-toothed predators, Neovenators, a 20-foot-long predator with five-inch claws and two-inch teeth.

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Dr Paul Barrett conducted a report of prehistoric finds over the past 336 years - and found that more than 100 species of dinosaur used to live in the UK, including tiny Echinodons not much bigger than cats.  

In the Isle of Wight, palaeontologists found a neck bone of a Sauropod which weighed roughly 54 tonnes. Remains of Neovenator dinosaurs were also found nearby.

The research was conducted with the help of Primeval: New World, a new spin-off of the dinosaur drama series.

Dr Barrett said: "This map highlights some of the most recent dinosaur discoveries in the UK, as well as the large number of finds made historically. Dinosaur fossils are still found on a regular basis in the cliffs and quarries of the UK and many more surprises are likely to be waiting in the rocks".

The most significant areas for dinosaur finds are predominantly in the south: Sussex, Surrey and Oxfordshire - but there have also been significant discoveries further north with rare remains of single dinosaur bones as far north as the Isle of Skye, Scotland. 

The cliffs around Whitby on the Yorkshire Coast are also home to rare dinosaur bones and some 180 million year old dinosaur footprints.

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