PALAEONTOLOGISTS at the University of Southampton have concluded that four bones found on the sea shore on the Isle of Wight belong to new species of theropod dinosaur, the group that includes both Tyrannosaurus rex and modern birds.
The bones were discovered at Shanklin last year and are from the neck, back and tail of the new dinosaur, which has been named Vectaerovenator inopinatus (unexpected air-filled hunter) which lived in the Cretaceous period 115 million years ago and is estimated to have been up to four metres long.
The name refers to the large air spaces in some of the bones, one of the traits that helped the scientists identify its theropod origins.
These air sacs, also seen in modern birds, were extensions of the lung, and it is likely they helped fuel an efficient breathing system while also making the skeleton lighter.
Amazingly, the four bones were found by three different amateur fossil hunters over a period of weeks in 2019 and all handed in their finds to the nearby Dinosaur Isle Museum at Sandown which then involved the University.
Their full findings will be published shortly.