Dorset’s Jurassic Park!
This jaw might look small and ‘insignificant’, but it is in fact hugely important and interesting. It’s from the first raptor dinosaur found in the UK, and called a dromaeosaur (like the velociraptor of Jurassic Park fame). Dromaeosaur are bird-like, feathered dinosaurs but their exact relationship to birds, which evolved from the dinosaurs, remains uncertain.
Not surprisingly, this is a type specimen and it defines the species Nuthetes destructor. It was discovered by Charles Willcox and named by Richard Owen in 1854. It was also thought to have been lost and was only rediscovered in the Dorset County Museum collection in the 1970s.
As museum specimens go, they don’t get much better than this, but the hope is that one day someone will find a whole dinosaur in the Purbeck Beds of Dorset.
Find out more on the reptiles pages.