The dinosaurs of Oxfordshire
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
name translated: 'whale lizard'
Cumnoria prestwichii Upper Jurassic
name translated: Latinised name for Cumnor, Oxfordshire
Eustreptospondylus oxoniensis Middle Jurassic
name translated: 'well-reversed spine/well-curved spine''
Megalosaurus bucklandii Middle Jurassic
name translated: 'great lizard'
The images used to illustrate these pages were drawn by Andrew Orkney and commissioned by Oxford Geology Group.