Whether you’re walking through the beautiful countryside of the Cotswolds, exploring London or enjoying family days out Newbury, it’s hard to imagine that huge, scaly, long-tailed beasts used to roam the UK – just like we do now. In fact, the fossils of many prehistoric creatures have been discovered by regular people as well as palaeontologists over the years, particularly along crumbling coastlines. So, let’s check out a few of the best finds.
Cetiosaurus and Cetiosauriscus
Sauropods were a group of dinosaurs that included some of the largest to have ever lived on land. These four-legged plant-eaters had long necks and tails – just like a Diplodocus although this species was discovered in the USA. Their heads were tiny compared to their massive bodies and if you’ve ever seen The Land Before Time, you’ll know the sort of ‘long neck’ creatures being referred to. The two most complete sauropod skeletons dug up in the UK belong to Cetiosaurus and Cetiosauriscus. These two dinosaurs were absolutely massive. In fact, scientists think the Cetiosaurus was probably the largest, but both were nearly as long as two double-decker buses. What would you do if you saw one of those pass by your window today?
Back in 2020, palaeontologists from the University of Edinburgh announced that they discovered grapefruit-sized footprints on the Isle of Skye that are believed to have been left by a Stegosaurus. The incredible depressions were found in rocks that were formed from mudflats around 170 million years old, during the Middle Jurassic period. This was a time when the Stegosaurus group of dinosaurs was beginning to evolve rapidly and spread out.
The Jurassic Coast in Dorset is one of the most popular spots for fossil hunters and many great finds have been made here, including the jaw of the first raptor dinosaur found in the UK, called a dromaeosaur. Dromaeosaurs are bird-like, feathered dinosaurs but their exact relationship to birds, which evolved from the dinosaurs, remains uncertain.
The Thecodontosaurus is also a sauropod and was one of the very first plant-eating dinosaurs to exist. The species, whose name strangely means ‘socket-toothed lizard’ was discovered by quarry workers in Bristol who found bones embedded in limestone. When this dinosaur roamed the UK, it enjoyed a climate closer to that of Florida than today’s south-west England. Imagine that! Nice and sunny for once. How times have changed!
If you love dinosaurs and are looking for fun things to do in Newbury with the whole family, don’t miss Dinosaur World Live. This fantastic theatre show features spectacular puppetry live on stage and is ideal for children ages three and above. When it comes to Newbury things to do, this is definitely a top choice. So book your tickets today.