June 14, 2024

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Scientists reveal the true origins of the Welsh dragon – new fossil evidence changes history

Scientists reveal the true origins of the Welsh dragon – new fossil evidence changes history

A major fossil discovery in Wales reveals that early dinosaurs lived in a tropical lowland next to the sea more than 200 million years ago. The study identified rare marine and terrestrial fossils, reconstructed a complex ecosystem, and provided new insights into the evolution of dinosaurs. Artistic depiction of a British archipelago during the Triassic. Credit: Gabriel Oguito, CC-BY 4.0

Recent fossil findings in Wales have revealed the tropical habitats of early dinosaurs and provided insight into the complex prehistoric ecosystem, representing a major advance in understanding the paleontological history of the region.

An important fossil discovery has illuminated the history of dinosaurs in Wales. Until recently, Dragon Land didn't have any dinosaurs. However, in the last ten years, many dinosaurs have been reported, but their life conditions were not well known. In a new study conducted by a team of University of Bristol And published in Proceedings of the Society of Geologistsimportant details were revealed for the first time.

They found that early Welsh dinosaurs more than 200 million years ago lived in a tropical lowland by the sea. Dinosaur tracks are known from Barrie and other nearby sites, indicating that dinosaurs walked across the warm lowlands.

Fossil discovery at Lavernock Point

The discovery was made at Lavernock Point, near Cardiff and Penarth, where dark-coloured shale and limestone cliffs document ancient shallow seas. On several levels, there are accumulations of bones, including the remains of fish, sharks, marine reptiles and sometimes dinosaurs.

The study was led by former Bristol Masters in Paleobiology student Owen Evans. He explained: “The bone bed paints a picture of a tropical archipelago, which was subjected to frequent storms, and material from all over the surrounding area, both on land and at sea, was washed into the intertidal zone. This means that from just one fossil horizon, we can reconstruct a complex ecosystem, with a diverse array of marine reptiles such as ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, and placodonts in the water, and dinosaurs on land.

The fingerprint is found in Triassic rocks

The imprint was found in Triassic rocks from South Wales. Credit: Cindy Howells at the National Museum Wales

“I've been visiting the coast at Penarth all my life, and grew up in Cardiff, but I never noticed the fossils. Then, the more I read, the more fascinating it became. Local geologists have been collecting the bones since the 1870s, and most of them are in the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff .

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Cindy Howells, curator of palaeontology at the National Museum Wales, adds: “The collections at Lavernock date back to the 19th century.y 20th century, with many parts of the bone bed collected over the years. The presence of dinosaur fossils at the site ensures that it remains one of the most important sites for paleontology in Wales.

The two finds the team made while conducting fieldwork at Lavernock were the fossilized remains of a placodont osteoderm, and the jolly bone of a single coelacanth. Supervisor Dr Chris Duffin said: “Coelacanth and placodon remains are relatively rare in the UK, which makes these discoveries even more remarkable.” These two fossils alone help build a broader picture of what the Raetians would have looked like in the UK.

Professor Michael Benton from Bristol School of Geosciences, another supervisor on the project, adds: “The scale of dinosaur remains found at Lavernock is very exciting, and represents an opportunity to study a complex and often mysterious period in its evolutionary history. We have identified large remains. Waterbodies Like an animal, along with many bones that likely belonged to predatory theropods.

A large section of the paper is devoted to the abundant microfossils found at the site, which include fish teeth, scales, and bone fragments. By examining thousands of samples, the team was able to identify the key Classify In shallow seas and know the relative importance of each.

The origins of the Welsh dragons have finally been determined.

Reference: “Microvertebrates from the bed of basal raytian bones (Late Triassic) in Lavernock, South Wales” by Owen Evans, Christopher J. Duffin, Claudia Hildebrandt, and Michael J. Benton, 23 May 2024, Proceedings of the Society of Geologists.
doi: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2024.05.001

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