Dinosaur Mite Discovery! Scientists find skeleton of new species of dinosaur on Isle of Wight – and say it’s most complete find in UK in 100 years

A new species of dinosaur the size of an American bison has been unearthed on the Isle of Wight, making it the ‘most complete’ fossil unearthed in the UK for a century.

The specimen – a herbivorous dinosaur that roamed the area 125 million years ago – was excavated from the cliffs of Compton Bay and contains a total of 149 bones.

The animal has been named Comptonatus chasei after the late fossil hunter Nick Chase and the site where it was found, in a discovery that experts are describing as a “remarkable” discovery.

The dinosaur belongs to a group of herbivores known as iguanodontia: large, bulky creatures often described by paleontologists as the “cows of the Cretaceous.”

Jeremy Lockwood, a PhD student at the University of Portsmouth who has spent years analysing the bones, said: ‘This animal would have weighed about a tonne (1,000kg), about the size of a large male American bison.

A new species of dinosaur the size of an American bison has been unearthed on the Isle of Wight – and is the ‘most complete’ fossil unearthed in the UK in a century

The specimen – a herbivorous dinosaur that roamed the area 125 million years ago – was excavated from the cliffs of Compton Bay and contains a total of 149 bones

The specimen – a herbivorous dinosaur that roamed the area 125 million years ago – was excavated from the cliffs of Compton Bay and contains a total of 149 bones

‘Fossil footprints found nearby indicate that it was probably a herding animal. Large herds of these heavy dinosaurs may have been roaming the floodplains when they were startled by predators, more than 120 million years ago.’

For the study, published in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, the researchers analyzed every part of the fossil, including the skull, teeth, spine and shin bones, as well as a pubic bone “the size of a dinner plate.”

Lockwood said it’s unclear why this hip bone, located at the base of the abdomen, was so large, but added: “It was probably intended for muscle attachment, which would suggest that the way the animal moved was somewhat different. It could also be that the bone was intended to support stomach contents more effectively, or that it was even involved in the way the animal breathed. All of these theories are somewhat speculative, though.”

For the study, published in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, the researchers analyzed every part of the fossil, including the skull, teeth, spine and shin bones, as well as a pubic bone the size of

For the study, published in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, the researchers analyzed every part of the fossil, including the skull, teeth, spine and shin bones, as well as a pubic bone the size of “about a dinner plate.”

Mr Lockwood said it was unclear why the dinosaur's hip bone, found at the base of its belly, was so large

Mr Lockwood said it was unclear why the dinosaur’s hip bone, found at the base of its belly, was so large

When Comptonatus was first discovered, it was thought to be a different type of dinosaur, Mantellisaurus, a three-toed herbivore that lived in Britain over 120 million years ago.

But according to Lockwood, Comptonatus differed from Mantellisaurus in “unique features of its skull, teeth, and other parts of its body.”

He said, ‘The lower jaw has a straight edge, whereas the jaw of most iguanodontians curves downward.’

Dr Susannah Maidment, a senior researcher and palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum, said the work could help researchers understand how ecosystems recovered after an extinction event at the end of the Jurassic, 200-149 million years ago.

It has been named Comptonatus chasei after the late fossil hunter Nick Chase (pictured) and the site where it was found. Experts are describing it as a

It has been named Comptonatus chasei after the late fossil hunter Nick Chase (pictured) and the site where it was found. Experts are describing it as a “remarkable” discovery.

‘Comptonatus is a fantastic dinosaur specimen – one of the most complete found in the UK in the last century,’ she added.

The fossil was first discovered in 2013 by Mr Chase, who died of cancer just before the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, because the dinosaur fossil was nearly complete, it took several years before Mr. Lockwood and his colleagues could prepare the specimen for analysis.

In the past five years, eight extinct species have been named from the Isle of Wight.

Lockwood said the latest “remarkable find” shows that the Isle of Wight and surrounding areas once had “one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world”.

The dinosaur has been added to the collection of the Dinosaur Isle Museum in Sandown on the Isle of Wight.