Another week, two new dinosaurs! Let’s start with a medium-size, four-legged dinosaur – Polacanthus foxii! The name Polacanthus means ‘Many Thorns’ and is a reference to the many spikes he had covering his body. The foxii refers to William Fox, the man who discovered him! He was uncovered in 1865, and his original name – before Owen decided to change it to foxii – was Polacanthus vectianus, vectianus after the Latin name the Romans gave to the Isle of Wight.
Polacanthus is known from only 3 partial skeletons, but the important parts are there! The spikes for starters! All three specimens were found on the Isle of Wight, and all three are on display in a museum there. Even through there are not many bones, Polacanthus footprints are abundant around the Island.
Hypsilophodon, on the other hand, is known from quite a few specimens, including a spectacular complete jaw! They all come from one location on the Isle of Wight, come to be known as the ‘Hypsilophodon Bed’. Below is a quote from Dean Lomax, a palaeontologist who has studied the bed on the Isle of Wight: “The remains represent a catastrophic burial, possibly by a flood.”* Interesting! Remember what we said, about the Wealden Flood Plain? All the evidence suggests that these dinosaurs were buried in a flood. Hold onto that thought, because we will come back to it at the end of the Dinosaurs of Britain session we are currently doing!
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*Dean R. Lomax, Dinosaurs of the British Isles, Siri Scientific Press, 2014, page 286.