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.