200 Million-Year-Old Jurassic Dinosaur Found In Wales

First Posted: Jan 20, 2016 04:42 PM EST

Researchers have identified a new species of carnivorous dinosaurs called 'Dracoraptor hanigani' which was found in south Wales. The researchers of the study have categorized 'Dracoraptor' as one of the oldest known Jurassic dinosaurs from the UK.

The fossilized dinosaur skull and bones were discovered on a beach in Wales by brothers, Nick and Rob Hanigan. The dinosaur was given the name 'Dracoraptor' which means 'dragon robber.' Draco also means dragon, which is the national symbol of Wales. The name of the species honors Hanigan brother who made the discovery, according to the researchers.

The researchers believe that 'Dracoraptor hanigani' belonged to a meat-eating theropod group of dinosaurs, based on their findings. They also found that the dinosaur was relatively young since most of its bones were not fully developed. The specimen is quite small compared to its distant relative T. rex.

Dracoraptor was about 70 cm tall and about 200 cm long and had a long tail. The researchers believe that this dinosaur lived during the Jurassic Period, about 201 million years ago, when south Wales was a coastal region. At the time the climate was warmer and dinosaur species were becoming more diverse.

"The Triassic-Jurassic extinction event is often credited for the later success of dinosaurs through the Jurassic and Cretaceous, but previously we knew very little about dinosaurs at the start of this diversification and rise to dominance," Steven U. Vidovic, coauthor of the study, said in a news release. "Now we have Dracoraptor, a relatively complete two meter long juvenile theropod from the very earliest days of the Jurassic in Wales."

The findings of this study were published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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