Oldest meat-eating dinosaur species discovered in the UK

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Scientists have recently discovered a new species of the oldest carnivorous dinosaur in the UK. The dinosaur is believed to be the oldest-known meat-eating dinosaur that lived over 200 million years ago.

Scientists realized that the dinosaur relates to an entirely new species called Pendraig milnerae. It has been named in honor of trailblazing Museum scientist Angela Milner, who passed away in August 2021.

As reported in the blog, this meat-eating dinosaur had a mysterious past. It is believed to have been lost, found, and renamed over the last 40 years.

It was originally discovered at Pant-y-ffynnon in southern Wales, is a type of deposit known as a fissure fill. This is where remains fell into crevices before being covered over and fossilizing.

Over the years, these fissure fills have provided a variety of fossils dating to the Triassic Period. This gives scientists a glimpse at the early evolutionary history of mammals, crocodiles, and dinosaurs.

The small carnivorous was originally discovered in the 1950s. Scientists had found the dinosaur’s bones, including parts of the back, legs, and hips. The team discerned that the animal was probably a coelophysoid. This was a smaller, carnivorous dinosaur with a long, narrow snout, common to the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic.

Dr. Stephan Spiekman, a research fellow at the Museum and the paper’s lead author, says“There is no obvious character that set this species apart. It has a certain combination of several characters that are unique amongst its group, which showed to us it was a new species.”

Analysis revealed that the species is the oldest-known theropod dinosaur found in the UK.

In the future, scientists will get more information into the life of P. milnerae and the fauna it lived alongside.

Journal Reference:
  1. Stephan N. F. Speakman, Martin D. Ezcurra et al. Pendraig milnerae, a new small-sized coelophysoid theropod from the Late Triassic of Wales. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.210915