Tooth Leads to Re-think over Eotyrannus lengi
Megan Jacobs, a palaeontology student from the University of Portsmouth, has something to remember from her trip to the Isle of Wight, for whilst exploring Compton Beach on the western side of the Island she discovered a 2.8 centimetre long dinosaur tooth that has been identified as belonging to the Early Cretaceous tyrannosaurid Eotyrannus lengi. The size of the tooth, the biggest found to date to be associated with Eotyrannus, may lead to a re-think about this Early Cretaceous meat-eater. Previously, fossil evidence suggested that this dinosaur grew to around six metres in length, however, based on this single tooth, this predator may have been considerably bigger.
Student Megan Jacobs Holding the Dinosaur Tooth
Picture Credit: Dinosaur Exhibition Centre
Eotyrannus lengi – A British Tyrannosaur
Eotyrannus is a member of the Tyrannosaur family, a distant relative of the most famous dinosaur of all – T. rex. It is known from only one partial specimen discovered in 2006 by amateur fossil collector Gavin Leng. Vertebrae, limb bones and elements from the skull and jaws were excavated from an exposed plant debris bed at Brighstone Bay about a mile from where Megan found her dinosaur tooth. It is one of the earliest Tyrannosaurs known and its discovery supports the idea that the Tyrannosauroidea had a wide geographical dispersion during the Late Jurassic and the Early Cretaceous. Analysis of the holotype fossil material IWCMS. 1997.550 suggests that some of the bones had not fully fused together. This lead the palaeontologists studying the fossils to consider this four-metre long animal as a juvenile, Everything Dinosaur published an estimated length for E. lengi at approximately 6 metres in 2010. Megan’s Eotyrannus tooth discovery further supports the theory that Eotyrannus was a large predator, it may have actually exceeded 6 metres in length. Until more fossils are found, the size of E. lengi remains open to debate.
A Model of Eotyrannus by CollectA
Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur
To view the CollectA Prehistoric Life Eotyrannus dinosaur model and the other not to scale replicas in the CollectA range: CollectA Prehistoric Life Dinosaur Models
This discovery of a pristine Eotyrannus tooth hints at the possibility that more fossil remains associated with this Theropod may exist in the cliffs on the western side of the Island.
A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:
“This fossil find raises the intriguing possibility that more Eotyrannus material may yet be found. If further evidence comes to light, then palaeontologists will have the opportunity to learn more about this Early Cretaceous Tyrannosaur.”
To discover more about Eotyrannus, palaeontologists will have to wait for time and tide to do their work.