Welcome to Norwich - a Dino City: but which ones actually lived here?

Welcome to Norwich: A Dino City

Welcome to Norwich: A Dino City - Credit: Archant

With Dippy taking up residence in Norwich Cathedral and a tyrannosaur invasion, the Fine City is - for now - also the Dino City.

But millions of years ago which fearsome beasts roamed where we now tread?

Computer generated 3D illustration with the Dinosaur Megalosaurus

Computer generated 3D illustration with the Dinosaur Megalosaurus - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The simple answer is, not many. 

Scientists say that thus far little evidence has been unearthed of dinosaurs dwelling where is now Norwich - although they will not have been too far away.

Ceratosaurus and Apatosaurus, who types of dinosaur which are believed to have roamed East Anglia

Ceratosaurus and Apatosaurus, who types of dinosaur which are believed to have roamed East Anglia - Credit: Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

This is largely down to the fact that for much of the time dinosaurs roamed the land, what we now call Norwich was beneath the sea.


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Paul Barrett, merit researcher from the Natural History Museum, said that while the Norwich area was not a hotbed of dinosaur activity, there is evidence they would not have been too far away.

Flying Pteranodon scene 3D illustration

Flying Pteranodon scene 3D illustration - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

He said: "In East Anglia, there is evidence to suggest it was very, very likely there would have been plenty of dinosaurs in the general area.

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"Some will have lived in the area around the same time Dippy was alive in North America, mainly sauropods, the large barrel-chested dinosaurs with long necks like the diplodocus.

A Ceratosaurus feeds on a dead Apatosaurus as do two small Coelurosaurs (Coelurus). Behind L-R are 2

A Ceratosaurus feeds on a dead Apatosaurus as do two small Coelurosaurs (Coelurus). Behind L-R are 2 Camptosaurus, Stegosaurus, Brachiosaurus and another Apatosaurus. - Credit: NHM London

"We know they were definitely in the area in the Jurassic period, but there is also evidence of meat-eaters and smaller, tank-like armoured dinosaurs like panopolosaurus around 100 million years ago."

And Prof Barrett said that while there was little evidence of Norwich dinosaurs the possibility could not entirely be ruled out.

Plesiosaur chasing fish

Plesiosaur chasing fish - the prehistoric marine creature is among the most likely to have lived near Norwich - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

He added: "Norwich is really important for fossils, but normally these are for creatures that would have been living in the sea. However, you just never know."

Julian Andrews, a recently-retired geology professor from the University of East Anglia, was part of the first team to discover dinosaur traces in the United Kingdom - discovering the footprints of a megalosaurus on the Isle of Skye in Scotland in 1982.

Julian Andrews, professor of geology at the University of East Anglia. Picture: Supplied by Julian A

Julian Andrews, professor of geology at the University of East Anglia. Picture: Supplied by Julian Andrews - Credit: Archant

He said that while Norwich was under sea for much of the cretaceous period, during the Jurassic period you may have found flying dinosaurs from the pterosaur family in the northwest parts of Norfolk - along with the shark-like mosasaur and plesiosaurus - the species the Loch Ness Monster is often attributed as being.

Plesiosaurus from the Jurassic era 3D illustration

Plesiosaurus from the Jurassic era 3D illustration - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Prof Andrews added: "From what I understand there is no real evidence of terrestrial dinosaurs [in the Norwich area], but that is because there's no sediment that would preserve them."

Norfolk's other dino links

While Norwich may not have been the Dino City, in the 18th century the impact of the prehistoric beasts was felt in the region.

In the late 1800s, coprolite - fossilised dinosaur faeces - was discovered in a farm in West Dereham.

The prehistoric poo could be ground up and mixed with acid or water to create a cheap and effective fertiliser.

And in 1958, the fossilised vertabra of a plesiosaur, believed to be 120 million years old, was discovered at Middleton, near King's Lynn.

It was discovered by David Brasnett of Blackborough Manor, in sludge dredged from a dyke near the farm. 

Reporting in the discovery at the time, the Monday, November 10, 1958 edition of this newspaper read: "Although a search was made, no other trace of the reptile was found. The fossil, which is an excellent specimen and measures about six inches in diameter, has been identified by Norwich Museum."

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