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A new dinosaur species has been discovered on the Isle of Wight

A new dinosaur species has been discovered on the Isle of Wight

The species is believed to have had a body covered with spiked armour

"Vectipelta barretti!" - no, it's not a spell from Harry Potter, it's the new species of dinosaur that's been discovered on the Isle of Wight.

Extinct dinosaur, that is. Don't worry, we don't have a Jurassic Park situation on our hands.

The new species was discovered in a fossil site on the island known as the Wessex Formation, which dates back between 145 to 66 million years ago, in the Early Cretaceous period.

Research into the find, which has been published in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, determined that it came from a dinosaur species which belonged to the ankylosaur group; a group of plant-eating dinosaurs believed to have had short, powerful limbs.

The new species, which has been named Vectipelta barretti after Natural History Museum staff member Professor Paul Barret, had an armoured body, but a different neck and back bones to its predecessor.

Analysis into the fossil found the new species also had more spiked armour.

Experts in the field have said the new species is most closely related to some Chinese ankylosaurs, suggesting it roamed between Asia and Europe in the Early Cretaceous period.

The fossil marks the second discovery of an second armoured dinosaur species found on the island after Polacanthus foxii in 1865.

Stuart Pond, a Natural History Museum researcher, explained: "'This is the first ankylosaur from the Isle of Wight for about 142 years, which is when the last one was officially described. It has been quite exciting.

"The specimen was excavated in the early 90s and was eventually accessioned to the Dinosaur Isle Museum, which is where we started working on it."

The species is the second ankylosaur discovered on the island.
PA

Explaining the significance of the latest discovery, Pond said: "For virtually 142 years, all ankylosaur remains from the Isle of Wight have been assigned to Polacanthus foxii... now all of those finds need to be revisited because we've described this new species.

"This is an important specimen because it sheds light on ankylosaur diversity within the Wessex formation and Early Cretaceous England."

After learning the new species of dinosaur would be named after him, Professor Barrett said: "I'm flattered and absolutely delighted to have been recognised in this way. Not least as the first paper I ever wrote was also on an armoured dinosaur in the Museum collections."

The professor then joked: "I'm sure that any physical resemblance is purely accidental."

The team who uncovered the new species described the Wessex Formation as a 'hugely important' resource for understanding more about how dinosaurs went extinct.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Science, History, UK News