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Welsh Dinosaur Named Dracoraptor Or 'Dragon Thief'

Update Date: Jan 23, 2016 03:17 PM EST
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Recently, a fossilized dinosaur that was found in South Wales in 2014 has been officially given the pretty name of Dracoraptor hanigani. It is the earliest known relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex.

Being 201 million years old, it is called Dacoraptor, which means "dragon thief". Hanigani refers to the brothers, Rob and Nick Hanigan, who found the fossil at a cliff near the Glamorganshire Golf Club.

Though it is a relative of T. Rex, it is small---just 2.3 feet in length, though at times it becomes as long as 6.5 feet, even with the tail.

This was the oldest discovered dinosaur in the United Kingdom right from the Jurassic Era, according to the BBC.

One of the authors of the research, Steven Vidovic, said that it gives an idea as to how ruled over the earth. "The Triassic-Jurassic extinction event is often credited for the later success of dinosaurs through the Jurassic and Cretaceous, but previously we knew very little about dinosaurs at the start of this diversification and rise to dominance," Vidovic said, according to Popular Science. "Now we have Dracoraptor, a relatively complete two-meter long juvenile theropod from the very earliest days of the Jurassic in Wales."

About 40 percent of the skeleton is preserved, including its cranial parts, teeth, foot and claw.The leading author of the Dracoraptor analysis was David Martill from the University of Portsmouth. The article was published on Plos One, "The Oldest Jurassic Dinosaur: A Basal Neotheropod from the Hettangian of Great Britain."

"It was the most beautiful little fossil I'd seen in a very, very long time," Martial said about the specimen, according to CBS.

"Dinosaur remains are really rare. This animal is the very first dinosaur from the Jurassic of Wales," he added. "There are few scrappy bits of pieces from the Triassic, slightly older rocks but this is just inside the Jurassic."

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