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Walking With Dinosaurs on the Isle of Wight

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Natural History Museum Map Highlights Dinosaur Hot Spots
dino map

Primeval Infographic From the Natural History Museum, highlighting dinosaur hotspots around the UK, identifies the Isle of Wight as the dinosaur capital of Britain. Click image to enlarge.

National History Museum

The National History Museum in London has named the Isle of Wight the "Dinosaur Capital of Britain."

A new map, issued by the museum in 2013 in connection with the launch of Primeval:New World, a spinoff from the the ITV series about Dinosaur hunters on Watch, identified more than 100 species of dinosaur found across Britain. The map, compiled by Museum researcher Dr Paul Barrett, points to the rocky bulge that broke off the south coast of England to become the Isle of Wight as a hotspot of dinosaur finds.

Dinosaur fossils, including footprints and skeletal remains, have been surfacing for at least 330 years. Scientists from the museum believe the island, the south coast resort favored by Queen Victoria, was once teeming with reptiles. They ranged from Sauropods - plant eaters but at about 85 feet long and 54 tonnes (twice the size of a London bus) you wouldn't want to get too close - to tiny Echinodons, about the size of a cat. According to museum experts, the island surpasses even Dorset's famous Jurassic Coast for the number of fossil finds more than 125 years old.

There were plenty of killer reptiles too. Among the 15 species of dinosaur known to have inhabited the island, the most recently discovered is Eotyrannus, a small meat eater distantly related to a giant cousin - Tyrannosaurus Rex. And apparently, the island was home to Europe's deadliest predator, the 26 foot long, giant saw-toothed Neovenator. Discovered on the south coast of the Isle of Wight by paleontologiest in 1978, the Neovenator had rows of razor sharp teeth and five inch claws for tearing apart its prey. Experts believe the fierce predator hunted herds of Iguanadon, the island's most commonly discovered dinosaur, contemporary with Neovenator. Iguanadons on the Isle of Wight were giant plant eaters, more than 30 feet long.

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