Ancient 'Dragon Raptor' the First Jurassic Dinosaur from the UKBy Russell Westerholm
A team of scientists has discovered a new species of dinosaur that they believe is the first Jurassic period dinosaur in the United Kingdom.
According to BBC News, the researchers named the dinosaur Dracoraptor ("dragon theif") hanigani (for the people who discovered it, Rob and Nick Hanigan). The Dracoraptor remains were found in the face of a cliff in South Wales in 2014.
Published in the journal PLOS One, the new study detailed a skeleton about 40 percent preserved, though that included its skull, claws, and teeth.
"We invited Rob and Nick to name this beautiful little dinosaur and they suggested 'Dracoraptor' after draco meaning dragon, the national symbol of Wales, and raptor meaning thief or plunderer," study lead author Dave Martill, a paleontologist at the University of Portsmouth, said in a press release. "The draco part of the name seemed fitting because the fossils were found in Wales and will be displayed in Wales, reflecting the red dragon of the Welsh flag. Dracoraptor was a meat-eating dinosaur that would have used its small needle-sharp teeth with steak-knife serrations to pinch bits of meat here and there, hence the part of its name meaning thief.
"Although the Hanigan brothers chose the generic name we also wanted to credit them, which is why the full name of the species is in fact Dracoraptor hanigani."
After discovering the bones, the Hanigan brothers turned them over to the University of Portsmouth. The paleontologists at the school determined it was a theropod meat-eater that lived about 201 million years ago in a diverse time for dinosaurs.
"It's a jumbled mix of bones that are a real puzzle to put back together," study co-author Steven Vidovic, a Portsmouth paleontologist, told Live Science. "It was very rewarding reconstructing it."