Abstract

Beginning with Buckland's 1824 description of Megalosaurus, the Geological Society of London played a leading role during the 19th century discovery of dinosaurs in Britain. Here we review the society's role and assess the current knowledge of saurischian dinosaurs in the country. Of Britain's 108 dinosaur species (excluding nomina nuda and objective synonyms), 32% have been named in the pages of Society publications. Britain has a rich and diverse dinosaur record ranging from the Rhaetian to the Cenomanian, and includes a surprising taxonomic diversity. Alleged Lower and Middle Triassic dinosaurs from Britain are suspect or erroneous. Sauropodomorphs represent all of the major clades and several have their earliest global appearances in the British record (Diplodocoidea, Rebbachisauridae and Titanosauria), implying that this region was biogeographically important for this group. The British theropod record is diverse, and includes the earliest spinosaurids, carcharodontosaurids and coelurosaurs. Although some specimens are represented by near-complete skeletons, much material is fragmentary and indeterminate, and c. 54% of British dinosaur taxa are considered nomina dubia. In part this high number results from the genesis of dinosaur science in Britain and the corresponding obsolescence of supposedly diagnostic characters.

You do not currently have access to this article.