New theropod dinosaur teeth from the Middle Jurassic of the Isle of Skye, Scotland

Published on 2019-03-29T10:24:12Z (GMT) by
The Middle Jurassic is a largely mysterious interval in dinosaur evolution, as few fossils of this age are known worldwide. In recent years, the Isle of Skye has yielded a substantial record of trackways, and a more limited inventory of body fossils, that indicate a diverse fauna of Middle Jurassic dinosaurs living in and around lagoons and deltas. Comparatively little is known about the predators in these faunas (particularly theropod dinosaurs), as their fossils are among the rarest discoveries. We here report two new isolated theropod teeth, from the Valtos Sandstone and Lealt Shale Formations of Skye, which we visualized and measured using high-resolution x-ray computed microtomographic scanning (µCT) and identified via statistical and phylogenetic analyses of a large comparative dental dataset. We argue that these teeth most likely represent at least two theropod species—one small-bodied and the other large-bodied—which likely belonged to one or several clades of basal avetheropods (ceratosaurs, megalosauroids, or allosauroids). These groups, which were diversifying during the Middle Jurassic and would become dominant in Late Jurassic, filled various niches in the food chain of Skye, probably both on land and in the lagoons.

Cite this collection

Young, Chloe M.E.; Hendrickx, Christophe; Challands, Thomas J.; Foffa, Davide; Ross, Dugald A.; Butler, Ian B.; et al. (2019): New theropod dinosaur teeth from the Middle Jurassic of the Isle of Skye, Scotland. Geological Society of London. Collection.