Isle of Wight fossil shows Europe had different herbivorous dinosaurs to Asia and America

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2023-09-16 14:30:05

Vectidromeus insularis was a herbivorous dinosaur belonging to the hypsilophodont family, and is only the second species in this family to be discovered.

Scientists have discovered a new species of small plant-eating dinosaur on the Isle of Wight in southern England (UK). The new species, Vectidromeus insularis, is the second member of the hypsilophodont family to be found on the island, suggesting that Europe had its own family of small herbivorous dinosaurs, distinct from those found in Asia and North America.

Hypsilophodonts were a group of nimble, bipedal herbivores that lived around 125 million years ago. The animals lived alongside early tyrannosaurs, spinosaurs, and Iguanodon. The new fossil represents an animal about the size of a chicken but was a juvenile and may have grown much larger.

Vectidromeus is a close relative of Hypsilophodon foxii, a dinosaur originally described in the Victorian era, and one of the first dinosaurs to be described from relatively complete remains. Small and with gracile, with bird-like hindlimbs, hypsilophodonts were used by famous scientist Thomas Henry Huxley as evidence that birds were related to dinosaurs.

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