New species of dinosaur related to T. rex discovered on Isle of Wight

Artist’s impression of the dinosaur's final moments. Credit: PA

Scientists at the University of Southampton believe bones found on the Isle of Wight belong to new a species of dinosaur related to the Tyrannosaurus rex.

Four bones were discovered by three different groups of people at Shanklin last year, who all handed in their finds to the nearby Dinosaur Isle Museum at Sandown.

The dinosaur has been named Vectaerovenator inopinatus and is part of the theropod group that includes Tyrannosaurus rex and modern-day birds.

Palaeontologists from the University of Southampton say the creature lived in the Cretaceous period 115 million years ago and is estimated to have been up to four metres long.

The bones, discovered on the foreshore at Shanklin last year, are from the neck, back and tail.

The bones were discovered on the foreshore at Shanklin last year

Scientific studies have confirmed the fossils are very likely to be from the same individual dinosaur, with the exact location and timing of the finds adding to this belief.

Robin Ward, a regular fossil hunter, was with his family visiting the Isle of Wight when they made their discovery

The joy of finding the bones we discovered was absolutely fantastic. I thought they were special and so took them along when we visited Dinosaur Isle Museum. “They immediately knew these were something rare and asked if we could donate them to the museum to be fully researched.

Robin Ward, fossil hunter

After studying the four vertebrae, palaeontologists from the University of Southampton confirmed that the bones are likely to belong to a genus of dinosaur previously unknown to science.

Their findings will be published in the journal Papers In Palaeontology.