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Theropod dinosaurs from Middle Jurassic of Skye, Scotland

Ben Creisler

A new online paper:

Stephen L. Brusatte and Neil D. L. Clark (2015)
Theropod dinosaurs from the Middle Jurassic (Bajocian–Bathonian) of
Skye, Scotland.
Scottish Journal of Geology (advance online publication)

The Isle of Skye, Scotland, has yielded a diverse Middle Jurassic
terrestrial vertebrate fauna, but little is known about the predatory
dinosaurs (theropods) occupying the top and secondary carnivore roles
in these ecosystems, as their fossils have been limited to rare
footprints of small- to mid-sized taxa. We describe two isolated
theropod body fossils, a tooth and a middle-posterior caudal vertebra,
from the late Bajocian–Bathonian Valtos Sandstone Formation of
northeastern Skye, and use a variety of quantitative techniques to
determine their taxonomic affinities. We conservatively refer both
specimens to Theropoda indet., but suggest that the tooth most likely
belonged to a megalosaurid, basal tyrannosauroid, or dromaeosaurid,
and that the vertebra belonged to a small-bodied basal coelurosaur of
approximately the same size as Coelurus (c. 2 m long, c. 30 kg mass).
Although fragmentary, these fossils and the footprints demonstrate
that both small and mid to large theropods were present in the Middle
Jurassic of Scotland, and that these may have included some of the
oldest coelurosaurs, and potentially some of the earliest-diverging
tyrannosauroids and dromaeosaurids.