Local Geology

Dinosaurs were reptiles that once lived on land; they didn't fly like the pterosaurs or live in aqueous environments like the plesiosaurs and icthyosaurs.  Unlike crocodiles and lizards, who walk with their legs held to the side of their body, dinosaurs walked with their legs held directly below their body.


The first dinosaur known to science was discovered in Oxfordshire and described by Oxford academic, William Buckland, before the word 'dinosaur' had even been coined.  Four species are particularly associated with the county: Cetiosaurus oxoniensis, Cumnoria prestwichii, Eustreptospondylus oxoniensis and Megalosaurus bucklandii


The holotypes for these species may be found in the excellent Museum of Natural History in Oxford.

Cetiosaurus oxoniensis                                      Middle Jurassic

pronounce: see-teo-sore-us

name translated: 'whale lizard'

Owen 1842


Phylum:  Chordataa

Order:  Saurischia

Suborder:  †Sauropodomorphia

Family:  †Cetiosauridae

Genus:  †Cetiosaurus


Cumnoria prestwichii                                          Upper Jurassic

pronounce: come-nor-ee-ah

name translated: Latinised name for Cumnor, Oxfordshire

Hulke 1880


Phylum:   Chordata

Order:   †Ornithischia

Suborder:   †Ornithopoda

Clade:   †Styracosterna

Genus:   †Cumnoria


Eustreptospondylus oxoniensis                         Middle Jurassic

pronounce: u-strep-toe-spond-di-luss

name translated: 'well-reversed spine/well-curved spine''

Walker 1964


Phylum:  Chordata

Order:  Saurischia

Suborder:  Therepoda

Family:  †Megalosauridae

subfamily:  †Eustreptospondylinae

Megalosaurus bucklandii                                 Middle Jurassic

pronounce: meg-ah-low-sore-us

name translated: 'great lizard'

Buckland 1824


Phylum:  Chordata

Order:  Saurischia

Suborder: Theropoda

Family:  †Megalosauridae

Subfamily: Megalosaurinae


The images used to illustrate these pages were drawn by Andrew Orkney and commissioned by Oxford Geology Group.