A new dinosaur species has been discovered on the Isle of Wight, believed to be the most complete dinosaur discovered in the UK in over 100 years. The Comptonatus chasei roamed the island around 125 million years ago and weighed as much as an African elephant. The new species, named after fossil hunter Nick Chase, belongs to a group of plant-eating dinosaurs known as iguanodontians.

The larger, bulkier dinosaurs like the Comptonatus chasei are often described as the “cows of the Cretaceous period” by scientists and were preyed on by meat-eating raptors. Jeremy Lockwood, a PhD student at the University of Portsmouth, believes that the evidence they have received shows that the Comptonatus chasei was most likely a herding animal. This could indicate the possibility of large groups of these heavy dinosaurs wandering around the Isle of Wight, frighteningly running around to avoid predators over 120 million years ago.

The study, released in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, analyzed each segment of the fossil, including the skull, teeth, spine, and leg bones. The average hip bone of the Comptonatus chasei is estimated to be the size of a dinner plate. Dr Susannah Maidment, a senior researcher and palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum, believes the finding shows the fast rates of evolution of iguandontian dinosaurs during that time period. She said the research could provide valuable insights into how ecosystems rebounded after extinctions at the end of the Jurassic Period around 200-149 million years ago.

Dinosaurs from the Cretaceous era have correspondingly become extinct in the last 145-66 million years, with the discovery of Comptonatus chasei being an astonishing new breakthrough in dinosaur discovery. With the knowledge gained from this fossil, scientists can derive exciting new conclusions about the lives of the creatures that once walked this planet

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