International Dinosaur Discoveries

Dinosaur Discoveries

What English island continues to be a hotspot for dinosaur fossil discoveries?

The small Isle of Wight, 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) off the southern coast of England, became a major hotspot for paleontologists, and it continues to be one of the world’s best dinosaur fossil discovery sites. This island was once home to Queen Victoria, and is best known as a holiday destination. But the quality of its dinosaur fossils—and the time period from which they originate—make this island the focus of paleontologists worldwide. The uniqueness of the dinosaur fossils found on the Isle of Wight has to do with their numbers and age: over 20 species of dinosaur having been recognized from the Early Cretaceous (in particular between 110 and 132 million years ago). Fossils from this period are rare; most sites around the world yield fossils from the Triassic or Jurassic periods. Thus, the Isle of Wight dinosaur fossils are essentially a window into a unique period of time, and the island constitutes a resource not found elsewhere in the world. In addition, the fossils are well-preserved and articulated, meaning the bones are still joined together, not strewn around.


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