Paleontologists at the Natural History Museum in London have just recorded a prehistoric discovery: the oldest carnivorous dinosaur that ever lived in what is now the United Kingdom. The creature, named Pendraig milnerae, set foot on Earth about millions of years and would have been a great predator of the region in which it lived.
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“We only have these four fragments, but the preservation is fantastic. The fossil is completely three-dimensional, it’s not distorted,” says Spiekman. “We are starting to see the first stages of dinosaur evolution. These animals eventually dominated the Earth, but by the end of the Triassic they were just one of several groups of reptiles that were living on the planet”, points out the paleontologist.
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The Pendraig lived at the end of the Triassic Period, and the fossil may have lived 499 millions of years ago, a lot before famous dinosaurs like T. Rex and Velociraptor settled into the Cretaceous. It was also much smaller than these large predators, despite having been at the top of the food chain.
The study with the discovery is available in the scientific journal Royal Society Open Science.
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