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Scientists just discovered a new dinosaur related to the Tyrannosaurus rex

The new dinosaur may have been a swimmer, or at least died in the water

Researchers at the University of Southampton spent months reviewing four different bones that washed up on the South coast of England near the village of Shanklin, which is on the Isle of Wight.
Researchers at the University of Southampton spent months reviewing four different bones that washed up on the South coast of England near the village of Shanklin, which is on the Isle of Wight.
Trudie Wilson

Scientists in England have identified a new species of dinosaur related to the popular Tyrannosaurus rex months after discovering four bones on a shore.

Researchers at the University of Southampton spent months reviewing four different bones that washed up on the South coast of England near the village of Shanklin, which is on the Isle of Wight.

The paleontologists determined the bones came from the neck, back and tail of the new dinosaur, which has been previously unknown to researchers across the country.

So what did the dinosaur look like? It was about 13 feet long. It was probably a theropod — meaning it walked on two legs (like a Tyrannosaurus rex) instead of four — that lived during the Cretaceous period.

The dinosaur has been named Vectaerovenator inopinatus, which refers to the creatures air sacs seen in its bones. These air sacs are fairly common in modern birds, allowing creatures to breathe easier, according to CNN.

Chris Barker, a Ph.D. student at the university who led the study, said in a news release that the discovery surprised researchers because it washed up on shore in an area where there’s mainly oysters and driftwood.

“The record of theropod dinosaurs from the mid-Cretaceous period in Europe isn’t that great, so it’s been really exciting to be able to increase our understanding of the diversity of dinosaur species from this time.

“You don’t usually find dinosaurs in the deposits at Shanklin as they were laid down in a marine habitat,” he added. “You’re much more likely to find fossil oysters or driftwood, so this is a rare find indeed.”