You’ve all heard of T-rex, Triceratops and even Dippy the Diplodocus. They are great and all but you know what? None of them are from the UK! That’s right, even Dippy is an American Dinosaur, all three of them are! In fact, movies and TV shows love to show off the big and famous dinosaurs from around the world, from T-rex in America to Velociraptor from China.
So far, there has been no evidence of either of these dinosaurs being discovered here on the Jurassic Coast. However, we certainly do have proof that a large carnivorous dinosaur once roamed here: Duriavenator.
Top 3 Fascinating facts
- The Duriavenator was a carnivorous dinosaur which lived approximately 170 Million years ago during the middle of the Jurassic, many millions of years before the first T-rex ever appeared in North America.
- In the Spring of 1882, skull remains in some stone blocks were discovered from a quarry at the back of a row of houses at Cold Harbour Road in Greenhill in West Dorset. Like a lot of dinosaur bones during this time, they were quickly ascribed to the name Megalosaurus by professor Richard Owen.
- It wasn’t until 2008 that these bones were reassigned to a new name by Roger Benson, who believed that the bones belonged to entirely different species of dinosaur which he named Duriavenator, meaning “Dorset hunter”.
A Surprising Fact
Duriavenator is part of a group of dinosaurs called theropods which were famously bi-pedal (walked on two legs) carnivores. Theropods are special for having hollow bones, three toes on their feet and most famously, hunted other dinosaurs and animals (although some theropods eventually started to eat plants too).
Duriavenator, just like the T-rex, was a theropod which specialised in hunting other dinosaurs, the main difference being that the T-rex was much larger and didn’t appear until millions of years after Duriavenator!