10 Amazing British Dinosaurs That You Should Know

A woman is watching a dinosaur in the street in UK

Source by: The Mirror

Although dinosaurs have been discovered in different parts of the world, you’d agree Britain might not be the first place that comes to mind when the issue of dinosaurs comes up. Well, it might interest you to know that some of the most popular discoveries of dinosaurs are on British soil.

‬Although in popular media discoveries in North America,‭ ‬Asia,‭ ‬and more recently China and South America have eclipsed those made in Europe,‭ ‬it is important to remember that dinosaur paleontology started in Britain‭ ‬and that the dinosaurs of the British Isles have a great many firsts attributed to them.

Well, to put that more into context, we have compiled a shortlist of 10 dinosaurs found on British soil. From the early cretaceous period to the middle Jurassic, and the entire Triassic period, below are 10 British Dinosaurs for you.

List of British Dinosaurs


A man is riding a neovenator on the ground

Source by: Only Dinosaurs

Neovenator was an Early Cretaceous dinosaur that lived some 127-121 million years ago. Neovenator walked on two legs and was amongst the larger British predatory dinosaurs of the Early Cretaceous.‭ ‬

How big Neovenator could grow to though is still uncertain,‭ ‬with estimates ranging from seven and a half to ten meters long.‭ ‬There has also been some uncertainty as to what type of theropod dinosaur that Neovenator was.‭

‬At first, Neovenator was thought to be a close relative of European Allosaurus,‭ ‬then later it was thought to be a member of the Carcharodontosauridae,‭ ‬a group that is known to contain some of the largest theropods known to us.‭ ‬Today Neovenator is more commonly treated as the type genus of its group the Neovenatoridae,‭ ‬a group that is considered to be related to the Allosauroidea and Carcharodontosauridae,‭ still, be distinct.


A brown scelidosaurus in a blue background

Source by: A Dinosaur A Day

Scelidosaurus lived during the early Jurassic period some 208-194 million years ago and would have been the first dinosaur of the most primitive members of the Thyreophora,‭ ‬the group of dinosaurs that is the home to the famous stegosaurs and ankylosaurs.‭ ‬

Scelidosaurus didn’t have elaborate plates,‭ ‬spikes, or tail clubs, however,‭ ‬but Scelidosaurus did have an extensive covering of bony osteoderms that ran down the length of the body.‭ ‬

These would have provided a substantial amount of defense from the teeth and claws of predators,‭ ‬possibly so much that Scelidosaurus was largely left alone in favor of less tough prey.‭ ‬

First named as a new genus in‭ ‬1859,‭ ‬Scelidosaurus is one of the most completely known dinosaurs to come from Britain. It was a herbivore, and its diet would have consisted of ferns or conifers, as grasses did not evolve until late into the Cretaceous Period after Scelidosaurus was long extinct. Well, you can find the collection in a natural history museum.


The details of a dacentrurus

Source by: DeviantArt

Dacentrurus was, pretty the distinct species, and technically, it was the first stegosaurid dinosaur to be named.‭ ‬However, when it was named in‭ ‬1875,‭ ‬it was known as Omosaurus.‭ ‬

Some years later it was realized that this name had already been used to name a crocodilian,‭ ‬and so in‭ ‬1902,‭ ‬the name Dacentrurus was created.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬Dacentrurus is known as a stegosaurid dinosaur because the genus Stegosaurus was named in‭ ‬1877,‭ ‬and so it has both validity and priority in establishing the group name.

Dacentrurus was quite large,‭ ‬and although a complete individual has not yet been found,‭ ‬when isolated remains, found in Dorset in southern England, are compared to those of other genera,‭ ‬Dacentrurus is considered to be similar to the smaller species of Stegosaurus in size.‭

‬Dacentrurus is noted for having a larger number of spines on the posterior half of the body,‭ ‬and while these may have offered some defense against predators,‭ ‬they may have equally served a display function.


A feathered hypsilophodon in a dark background

Source by: Fandom

Easily the smallest dinosaur on this list,‭ ‬Hypsilophodon was a bipedal Ornithischian dinosaur that had a small delicate skull suited for selective browsing over choice plant parts.‭ ‬In the past, a lot of misconceptions about Hypsilophodon have been put forward including that it would climb trees,‭ ‬had armored skin,‭ ‬was built like a lizard, or perhaps even hopped around like a kangaroo,‭ ‬all theories that have no evidence to support them.‭ ‬

Well, the interesting part of this creature is that it is made up for its small size with impressive speed. It could cover up to 10 to 20 miles per hour.


A feathered eotyrannus is running in the forest

Source by: Flickr

Almost everyone knows what a Tyrannosaurus rex was,‭ ‬and a great number of people are aware that it was just one member of a family of large predatory theropods that dominated Asia and North America during the late mid to late Cretaceous.‭ ‬

What many people do not realize is that their distant ancestors had more humble beginnings and that Eotyrannus is amongst the first tyrannosaurs to appear that we know about.‭ ‬Eotyrannus is regarded as a tyrannosauroid‭‬‭ ‬and is the first genus of its type to be named from Britain,‭ ‬specifically the Isle of Wight.‭ ‬

We don’t know yet if larger tyrannosaurids roamed Britain at the end of the Cretaceous as most of the dinosaur fossil-bearing formations of Britain are Jurassic to early Cretaceous in age.‭ ‬But the discovery of an early tyrannosaur is yet more proof that Britain has seen a very diverse range of theropod dinosaurs.

Unlike the T. Rex, Eotyrannus was not one of the largest animals.


Several cetiosaurus are walking on the ground

Source by: DinoAnimals

The name Cetiosaurus was first coined in‭ ‬1841,‭ ‬with a more complete description appearing in‭ ‬1842,‭ ‬the same year that Richard Owen,‭ ‬the describer of Cetiosaurus created the‭ ‬word dinosaur to describe the rapidly‭ ‬growing number of large Mesozoic reptiles that were being named.‭ ‬

However, Owen didn’t consider Cetiosaurus a dinosaur when he described it,‭ ‬instead he thought that he was describing some kind of giant marine crocodile from the isolated remains that he had.

The truth of the matter is that not only was Cetiosaurus a sauropod dinosaur,‭ ‬but it was also the first sauropod to ever‭ ‬be described to science,‭ ‬albeit‭ ‬interpreted as something else.‭ ‬

With the type species being roughly sixteen meters long,‭ ‬Cetiosaurus was not a fantastically huge sauropod,‭ ‬but still, one that was large for its time and location have given that Western Europe is not thought to have had expansive land masses like other areas of the world at the time.


An armoured polacanthus on the ground

Source by: YouTube

Polacanthus was amongst the first armored dinosaurs to be named and is today considered as the type genus of the Polacanthinae,‭ ‬a group that contains similar dinosaurs known from as far away as North America and China.‭ ‬

Polacanthus is not that well preserved however,‭ ‬the hindquarters are fairly complete,‭ ‬but the forward half of the animal and the skull are represented by only very incomplete remains,‭ ‬so modern reconstructions of Polacanthus rely much upon relative genera filling the gaps.


A giant roaring brown baryonyx

Source by: Fandom

First discovered in the English county of Surrey,‭ ‬when word got out about Baryonyx in‭ ‬1986‭ ‬people were stunned at the then bizarre appearance of a theropod dinosaur with a crocodile-like head,‭ ‬and large heavy claws on its hands.‭ ‬What they did not realize at the time however was that they were looking at the basic true form of a spinosaurid dinosaur.‭ ‬

This was not fully realized until later in the twentieth century however when the first partial skull of Spinosaurus was found and realized to be similar to Baryonyx.‭ Baryonyx was a carnivore.

Baryonyx was named from what is now known to have been a juvenile individual,‭ ‬and although the partial remains of other Baryonyx have been found,‭ ‬the true adult form of Baryonyx is still unknown,‭ ‬and it’s possible that as Baryonyx grew older,‭ ‬the neural spines on their vertebrae may have grown taller to support a hump-like growth like that seen in other spinosaurid dinosaurs.‭ ‬

Here are more details about Baryonyx.


Some details of iguanodon

Source by: Britannica

Named in‭ ‬1825‭ ‬Iguanodon was the second dinosaur genus,‭ ‬and the first-ever plant-eating dinosaur genus to be named.‭ ‬

When described Iguanodon was noted for having teeth similar to an Iguana‭ (‬the name Iguanodon means‭ ‘‬Iguana tooth‭’)‬,‭ ‬and so early concepts about Iguanodon were along the lines of a huge gigantic Iguana.‭

‬When the first sculpture for display in the Crystal Palace Park was built it took on an appearance of an elephantine lizard.‭ ‬It was not until about‭ ‬1882‭ ‬that actual Iguanodon skeletons were assembled that a closer picture of what Iguanodon looked like emerged,‭ ‬though then judge for these were still in an incorrect completely upright posture with the tail dragging behind it.‭ ‬It would not be until later in the twentieth century that scientifically accurate reconstructions of Iguanodon began to appear.


A roaring grey megalosaurus on the ground

Source by: Fandom

This list couldn’t have anything else as number one since Megalosaurus was named in‭ ‬1824‭ ‬it was the first-ever dinosaur genus to be named‭ (‬though Iguanodon was a close second‭)‬.‭ ‬Like with early reconstructions of Iguanodon,‭ ‬early reconstructions of Megalosaurus were way off from its true body form.‭

‬Back in‭ ‬1824,‭ ‬the name dinosaur hadn’t been invented yet,‭ o‬but Megalosaurus was the public’s first indication of a type of giant and previously unknown reptile that once roamed the earth.‭ ‬

This was not the start of paleontology however as scientists and naturalists all over the world‭ (‬but particularly in Europe‭) ‬had already been studying the remains of long-extinct animals along the lines of fish and mammals for many decades,‭ ‬with the origins for this study going back hundreds of years before this.

FAQs About British Dinosaurs

Some long neck dinosaurs are walking on the ground

Source by: New Scientit

Did any dinosaurs live in the UK?

Yes, many dinosaurs and prehistoric animals lived in the UK. And you can tell from our shortlist.

How many dinosaurs have been found in England?

More than 100 dinosaurs.

Did the T-Rex live in the UK?

No, in fact, a complete T-Rex skeleton has never been found in British (It is found in Hell Creek, Montana), and most dinosaur skeletons on display in exhibitions are replicas.


A giant long-necked dinosaur is walking on the ground

Source by: NPR

Let’s call it a wrap here, and we believed you have learned a few things. So, when you travel to any of the British countries, Scotland, Wales, etc, you can visit any of these sites where fossils have been found, or you can visit the Natural History Museum to see more of these dinosaurs.

However, if you’d like to own any animatronic products of the discussed dinosaur, we have them available. Similarly, we have animatronic products of other dinosaurs like the Brachiosaurus, the Triceratop, and others.

Do you know any other British dinosaurs? Let us know in the comments section!

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