13 June 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

New Study Exposes Origins of Welsh Dragons

In a new study conducted by a team from the University of Bristol and published in the Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, crucial details about the early Welsh dinosaurs have been unveiled for the first time.

Wales now has important new information about the dinosaur era thanks to a major fossil find. There was no evidence of dinosaur presence in the land of the dragon until recently. However, several dinosaur fossils have been reported over the past decade, although their living conditions remained largely unknown.

Researchers found that early Welsh dinosaurs from over 200 million years ago lived on a tropical lowland beside the sea. Dinosaur trackways are known from Barry and other sites nearby, showing that dinosaurs had walked across the warm lowlands.

The discovery was made at Lavernock Point, close to Cardiff and Penarth, where the cliffs of dark-colored shales and limestones document ancient shallow seas. At several levels, there are accumulations of bones, including the remains of fish, sharks, marine reptiles, and occasionally, dinosaurs.

Former student of the Bristol MSc in Paleobiology Owain Evans, who led the study, explained, “The bone bed paints the picture of a tropical archipelago, which was subjected to frequent storms, that washed material from around the surrounding area, both in land and out at sea, into a tidal zone.

“This means that from just one fossil horizon, we can reconstruct a complex ecological system, with a diverse array of marine reptiles like ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs and placodonts in the water, and dinosaurs on land.

Artist’s depiction of a British Archipelago during the Triassic
Image Credit: Gabriel Ugueto
Artist’s depiction of a British Archipelago during the Triassic Image Credit: Gabriel Ugueto

“I had visited the coast at Penarth all my life, growing up in Cardiff, but never noticed the fossils. Then, the more I read, the more amazing it became. Local geologists had been collecting bones since the 1870s, and most of these are in the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.”

Cindy Howells, Curator of Palaeontology at the National Museum of Wales, adds: “The collections from Lavernock go all the way back to the 19th century, with many sections of the bone bed being collected over the years. The presence of dinosaur fossils at the site ensure that it remains one of the most significant localities for palaeontology in Wales.”

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

Professor Michael Benton from Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences, another project supervisor, adds, “The volume of dinosaur remains found at Lavernock is extremely exciting, and is a chance to study a complex, and often mysterious period in their evolutionary history. We have identified the remains of a large Plateosaurus like animal, along with several bones which likely belonged to a predatory theropod.”

A significant section of the paper is dedicated to the abundant microfossils found at the site, which include fish teeth, scales, and bone fragments. By examining thousands of specimens, the team was able to identify the key species in the shallow seas and work out the relative importance of each.

University of Bristol

Doi: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2024.05.001.

Related Articles

1600-Year-Old Geometric Motifs Mosaic Found in Yavne

26 April 2021

26 April 2021

The Israel Antiquities Authority declared Monday that a 1,600-year-old mosaic discovered in Yavne, which archaeologists believe may have once graced...

1,500-year-old baptistery found in Kadı Castle-Anaia Mound in western Turkey

3 December 2021

3 December 2021

A baptistery, estimated to have been built in the 5th century AD, was unearthed in the Kadı Castle-Anaia Mound in...

A rare Pictish stone was found near the potential site of the famous Scottish battle that led to the creation of Scotland

7 March 2022

7 March 2022

A team of archaeologists has discovered a Pictish symbol stone close to the site of what is thought to have...

At a dig site in western Turkey, a centuries-old Byzantine fortress will be revealed

24 December 2021

24 December 2021

Excavation of vast Byzantine-era fortifications considered to be about 900 years old has begun at a dig site in western...

Do Byzantine coins Record the Supernova of 1054?

25 June 2022

25 June 2022

SN 1054 was one of the most spectacular astronomical events of all time. The supernova explosion eventually formed what is...

Nearly intact 1,800-year-old bouquets of flowers found in Teotihuacan

14 August 2021

14 August 2021

In the ruined city of Teotihuacan, Mexico, at a depth of 18 meters, inside the tunnel under the pyramid of...

A Ribat Mosque shares space with the Roman sanctuary dedicated to Sun and Ocean was discovered in Portugal

2 November 2023

2 November 2023

The ruins of a second Islamic ‘ribat’ mosque dating back to the 11th and 12th centuries have been discovered at...

Japan’s possibly oldest stone molds for bronze casting discovered at Yoshinogari ruins

4 December 2023

4 December 2023

At the Yoshinogari Ruins in the western prefecture of Saga, relics including stone casting molds for bronze artifacts have been...

Remains of a 3,700-year-old domed oven were discovered in the ancient city of Troy

10 September 2022

10 September 2022

Remains of a 3,700-year-old domed oven were found in the ancient city of Troy, located in the Tevfikiye district of Çanakkale...

Orkney dig reveals ruins of huge Neolithic tomb

21 October 2023

21 October 2023 1

A 5,000-year-old tomb was unearthed in Orkney, north-east Scotland. The discovery was announced by the Guardian, describing the tomb structure...

An unexpected shipwreck was unearthed at the Tallinn construction site

18 April 2022

18 April 2022

During the construction of the office building on Lootsi Street in Tallinn, Estonia’s capital on the Baltic Sea, a shipwreck...

“Unprecedented” Phoenician necropolis found in southern Spain

28 April 2022

28 April 2022

A 4th or 5th-century B.C Phoenician necropolis has been found at Osuna in Southern Spain. A well-preserved underground limestone vault...

Remains of a Roman stylobate found in Montenegro

19 July 2023

19 July 2023

In ancient Rhizon (Risan) in Montenegro, remains of a Roman stylobate (a shared base for multiple columns) were uncovered. In...

Metal Detectorist Finds on 4,000-year-old Dagger in Poland Forests

24 February 2024

24 February 2024

A copper dagger more than 4,000 years old was found in a forest near the town of Jarosław on the...

Thousand-year-old bone skate discovered in Czech Republic

20 March 2024

20 March 2024

Archaeologists from the central Moravian city of Přerov, Czech Republic have announced a unique discovery. While carrying out excavations in...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *