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Dinosaur find in Whitby is UK's oldest

The dinosaur bone will go on display next week Credit: ITV

Experts say they have identified Britain's oldest sauropod dinosaur from a fossil bone discovered on the North Yorkshire coast. The backbone originates from a group of dinosaurs that includes the largest land animals to have ever walked on Earth.

The dinosaur bone from the Middle Jurassic Period at about 176 million years old was found on a beach at Whitby after it fell out of a cliff face. It represents the earliest skeletal record of this type of dinosaur from the United Kingdom and adds to existing evidence from Yorkshire dinosaur tracks that this part of the country was once Britain's very own "Jurassic World", say researchers at the University of Manchester.

Sauropods - often referred to as brontosaurs - include some of the largest plant-eating dinosaurs to have roamed the Earth and were a successful group for nearly 150 million years. They possessed distinctive long necks and tails, small heads, a large body and walked on all fours. Some species such as the Argentinosaurus grew up to 115ft long and possibly weighed as much as 80 tonnes. The fossil is said to be an extremely rare find, given the Middle Jurassic rocks of the world are only exposed in a few areas such as China and Argentina where similar-aged dinosaur fossils originate.

Professor Phil Manning and his team from the University of Manchester used X-ray tomography to study the fossil bone, which is now held in the collections at the Yorkshire Museum in York.

Prof Manning said: "Many scientists have worked on the amazing dinosaur tracks from the Middle Jurassic rocks of Yorkshire. "It was a splendid surprise to come face-to-face with a fossil vertebra from the Jurassic rocks of Yorkshire that was clearly from a sauropod dinosaur. This fossil offers the earliest 'body fossil' evidence for this important group of dinosaurs in the United Kingdom but it is impossible to define a new species based upon this single bone."

Until more bones are discovered the team have simply nicknamed Britain's oldest sauropod dinosaur Alan, after the finder of this prehistoric giant, Alan Gurr.

Sarah King, curator of natural science at the Yorkshire Museum, said: "We have some of the best examples of fossils from the area in our collections and we are delighted to be able to display the vertebra of Britain's oldest sauropod alongside them for the public to enjoy."

The vertebra will be on show at the Yorkshire Museum from June 8.

Durham University scientists' discovery 'may change physics'

A new insight on the universe. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A team of scientists at Durham University believe they have made a significant discovery about dark matter, the most common substance in the universe that is invisible.

Astronomers, using the Hubble Space Telescope, say they might have observed the first hint of dark matter interacting with gravity, having previously thought this was not possible.

Scientists initially thought dark matter could not interact with the universe but this could be proof it can. The discovery could mean a change to physics in the future.

Watch Dr Richard Massey from Durham University below:

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Solar eclipse time-laspe

The Moon took more than two hours to transit the sun during this morning's solar eclipse. But here you can watch it in 30 seconds.

This time-lapse video, which has been speeded up 50 times, was shot by one of our cameramen at Kielder Observatory.

The sun appears to move across the screen but it is actually the earth that is moving as it rotates around it's axis.

Throughout the transit our cameraman had to reposition the camera several times to keep the Sun in shot.

Chance to see the Northern Lights TONIGHT

Credit: Ivor Miller

Anyone in the north might have a chance of seeing the Northern Lights tonight.

They are caused when charged particles from the sun hit the Earth's atmosphere.

There was a large explosion on the Sun on Sunday - sending magnetically charged particles our way.

The main trouble we will have is with cloud amounts. Clearer skies are expected in the west overnight - but even then you will need a lot of luck

You can send me your pictures to weatherpics@itv.com

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