WHAT I DID ON MY LOCKDOWN
Prehistoric Times|Winter 2021 #136
A tyrannosaur in the local area? How cool!
Dougal Dixon

So, what did you do, during your Covid-19 lockdown? Here is one of the things that distracted me.

I first heard about our local tyrannosaur from a presentation given at an annual meeting of the SVPCA (the Symposium of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy) sometime in the early 2000s. The story was that a partial skeleton of this beast had been excavated from the Kimmeridge Ledges – a coastal cliff formation about a mile east of Kimmeridge Bay in Dorset on England's south coast – and just about seven miles from where I live.

A tyrannosaur in the local area? How cool! I know the late Jurassic is a bit early for tyrannosaurs, and it would be quite primitive and a bit small. But a local tyrannosaur. Wow! Just wait until the local media get to hear about that!

But they didn’t. The next thing I heard about it was its paper in the Journal Vertebrate Paleontology.

Benson, R.B.J. (2008). New information on Stokesosaurus, a tyrannosauroid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from North America and the United Kingdom. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 28 (3): 732–750. doi:10.1671/0272-4634(2008)28[732:NIOSAT]2.0.CO;2

This described it and identified it as a new species of Stokesosaurus, as Stokesosaurus langhami.

Published - and still the local media didn’t pick up on it. The local people knew nothing about it.

But, of course, as a science writer and communicator, it was my job, wasn’t it?

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