New dinosaur species discovered - sitting in museum
A BRITISH student discovered a previously unknown dinosaur species - on a trip to a museum.
Mike Taylor saw an unusual bone while doing research for his PhD in the Natural History Museum collections in London.
It turned out to be a dorsal vertebra, part of the backbone, from a dinosaur that roamed the Earth 140 million years ago.
"It leaped out at me as being different," said Mr Taylor, who is studying sauropod vertebrae as part of his PhD at the University of Portsmouth. "I've spent the last five years doing nothing but looking at sauropod vertebrae, so I immediately realised it was something strange."
The bone was dug up in Sussex in the early 1890s by fossil collector Philip James Rufford. It was reviewed by the palaeontologist Richard Lydekker, then left untouched in the Natural History Museum for 113 years.
Sauropods were herbivores; the largest were the size of whale and weighed up to 70 tonnes.
Mr Taylor's discovery may represent a whole new family of dinosaurs. The new sauropod has been named Xenoposeidon, which means roughly "alien sauropod".
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