Meet the 'horned crocodile-faced hell heron'
By T.K. Randall
October 1, 2021 · 4 comments
At up to 30ft long, these carnivorous beasts were deadly to say the least. Image Credit: Anthony Hutchings
Palaeontologists have identified two predatory species of dinosaur that roamed what is now the Isle of Wight.
While today it might seem as far away from Jurassic Park
as it is possible to get, the UK's Isle of Wight, which is situated in the English Channel just off the coast of Hampshire, was once home to countless species of dinosaur including two new carnivores that have just been discovered there.
Dating back to the Early Cretaceous around 125 million years ago, these two predators were spinosaurids - relatives of the gigantic Spinosaurus which featured in Jurassic Park III
One of these, which has been named Ceratosuchops inferodios
(meaning 'horned crocodile-faced hell heron'), had prominent horns and bumps across its brow and as its name suggests, would have hunted for prey in much the same way as today's herons - perching by the water's edge, ready to strike at anything unfortunate enough to pass in front of it.
The second new species, Riparovenator milnerae
(or Milner's riverbank hunter), was named after British paleontologist Angela Milner who studied and named another spinosaurid - Baryonyx
Both dinosaurs likely reached somewhere in the region of 30ft in length.
"We've known for a couple of decades now that Baryonyx-like dinosaurs awaited discovery on the Isle of Wight, but finding the remains of two such animals in close succession was a huge surprise," study co-author Darren Naish said in a statement.
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