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Solely Dinosaur Bones Ever Found in Eire

Scelidosaurus harrisonii

Illustration of the Jurassic thyreophoran Scelidosaurus harrisonii. Credit score: Jack Mayer Wooden, CC BY-SA , through Wikimedia Commons

The one dinosaur bones ever discovered on the island of Eire have been formally confirmed for the primary time.

The one dinosaur bones ever discovered on the island of Eire have been formally confirmed for the primary time by a staff of consultants from the College of Portsmouth and Queen’s College Belfast, led by Dr. Mike Simms, a curator, and paleontologist at Nationwide Museums NI.

The 2 fossil bones had been discovered by the late Roger Byrne, a schoolteacher and fossil collector, who donated them together with many different fossils to Ulster Museum. Evaluation has confirmed they’re from early Jurassic rocks present in Islandmagee, on the east coast of County Antrim.

Ulster Museum has introduced plans to place them on show when it reopens after the newest rounds of restrictions are lifted.

Mike Simms

Dr. Mike Simms, of Nationwide Museums NI, with the theropod tibia on the left and the Scelidosaurus femur on the suitable. Credit score: Nationwide Museums NI

Dr. Simms, Nationwide Museums NI, mentioned: “This can be a vastly important discovery. The good rarity of such fossils right here is as a result of most of Eire’s rocks are the incorrect age for dinosaurs, both too outdated or too younger, making it practically inconceivable to verify dinosaurs existed on these shores. The 2 dinosaur fossils that Roger Byrne discovered had been maybe swept out to sea, alive or useless, sinking to the Jurassic seabed the place they had been buried and fossilized.”

The article, revealed within the Proceedings of the Geologists’ Affiliation, is an element of a bigger venture to doc Jurassic rocks in Northern Eire and attracts on many fossils in Ulster Museum’s collections.

Scelidosaurus Femur

Scelidosaurus femur fossil. Credit score: College of Portsmouth

Initially it was assumed the fossils had been from the identical animal, however the staff had been shocked to find that they had been from two fully completely different dinosaurs. The research, using the newest accessible know-how, recognized the kind of dinosaur from which every got here. One is a part of a femur (higher leg bone) of a four-legged plant-eater known as Scelidosaurus. The opposite is a part of the tibia (decrease leg bone) of a two-legged meat-eater much like Sarcosaurus.

The College of Portsmouth staff, researcher Robert Smyth, initially from Ballymoney, and Professor David Martill, used high-resolution 3D digital fashions of the fossils, produced by Dr. Patrick Collins of Queen’s College Belfast, of their evaluation of the bone fragments.

Robert Smyth mentioned: “Analyzing the form and inside construction of the bones, we realized that they belonged to 2 very completely different animals. One may be very dense and strong, typical of an armored plant-eater. The opposite is slender, with skinny bone partitions and traits discovered solely in fast-moving two-legged predatory dinosaurs known as theropods.”

“Regardless of being fragmentary, these fossils present worthwhile perception on a vital interval in dinosaur evolution, about 200 million years in the past. It’s at the moment that dinosaurs actually begin to dominate the world’s terrestrial ecosystems.”

Professor Martill mentioned: “Scelidosaurus retains on turning up in marine strata, and I’m starting to assume that it could have been a coastal animal, even perhaps consuming seaweed like marine iguanas do at the moment.”

Reference: “First dinosaur stays from Eire” by Michael J.Simms, Robert S. H. Smyth, David M. Martill, Patrick C. Collins and Roger Byrne, 11 November 2020, Proceedings of the Geologists’ Affiliation.
DOI: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2020.06.005

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