BBC Home
Explore the BBC
19 July  
Search ON THIS DAY by date
Go back one day Go forward one day  
Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
About This Site | Text Only
1983: Flesh-eating dinosaur resurrected
A huge new dinosaur skeleton has been unveiled to the media at the Natural History Museum in London.

Plumber and amateur fossil hunter Bill Walker, 55, found a foot-long claw belonging to the flesh-eating beast at a clay pit in Surrey in January.

When he found the rock containing the talon he tapped it and the whole thing cracked.

Palaeontologists reconstructed it and dated the remains at 125 million years old, describing them as the find of the century.

The scientists had to wait for the clay to dry out before they completed a two-week excavation in May when they filled three vans with bones.

It is a totally new species of dinosaur.
Dr Alan Charig
Group leader and head of the Dinosaur Department at the Natural History Museum Dr Alan Charig explained: "It is a totally new species of dinosaur. Even more important, this is the first record of any meat-eating dinosaur being found in rock this age anywhere in the world."

He told a press conference at the museum the creature would have been about 15 feet tall - the same as a double-decker bus. It would have weighed half as much as an elephant, at about two tons, and could have run up to 20 miles an hour - faster than Sebastian Coe.

Nicknamed Claws, the dinosaur would have been slightly smaller than the Tyrannosaurus Rex - with teeth like steak knives - and was probably a sub-species of the Megalosaurus.

Mr Charig said the quarry where Mr Walker made the find was a well-known source of fossils and he had excavated an iguanodon skeleton there only last year.

But the experts are keeping the precise location of the site - known to be near Gatwick Airport - secret to keep away souvenir hunters.

The South Kensington museum hopes to have part of the skeleton on display for the public by the end of the year.

 E-mail this story to a friend


Bill Walker
Plumber Bill Walker found a foot-long claw


Fact Box
Dinosaurs roamed the earth from 220 million years ago - the Triassic period - to 65 million years ago - the Late Cretaceous age.

The first dinosaur species to be identified and named was Iguanodon, discovered in 1822 by the English geologist Gideon Mantell.

Two years later the Rev William Buckland, professor of geology at Oxford University, became the first person to describe a dinosaur in a scientific journal.

Sir Richard Owen, a Victorian anatomist, was the first to coin the term dinosaur in 1842.

Bill Walker's find was from the Cretaceous period, when the age of the dinosaur was at its height.

It was a new species of fish-eating dinosaur, with skull and teeth similar to a crocodile, subsequently named Baryonyx Walkeri, meaning Mr Walker's heavy claw.

Scientists are still investigating why non-avian dinosaurs became extinct.

The main schools of thought are that they died out gradually because of climate change or that they were wiped out after a dramatic meteorite clash.

Most paleontologists hold the view that birds are directly descended from theropod dinosaurs.

Stories From 19 Jul


BBCi Dinosaurs
0 DinosaurWalking with dinosaurs


 
Search ON THIS DAY by date
Go back one day Go forward one day  

^^ back to top
Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
©MMVIII | News Sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy