University of Portsmouth researcher discovers species

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A NEW species of feisty amphibian that lived in the shadows of dinosaurs has been discovered by a University of Portsmouth researcher.

The discovery fills a gap in the evolutionary history of a now extinct group, the albanerpetontids.

Wesserpeton, nicknamed ‘Wessie’, was about the size of a small, modern-day newt.

The creature lived on the Isle of Wight, often called Dinosaur Island, about 130 million years ago during the Early Cretaceous period.

Dr Steve Sweetman of the University’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, said: ‘When I started looking for the little animals that lived with the dinosaurs a Wessie jaw was the first thing I found and I can still remember how excited I was.

‘From the plant debris beds we have bones of some of the largest creatures to have walked the earth during the Early Cretaceous period mixed with those of some of the smallest, including those of Wessie. This is really quite remarkable and it is what makes the rocks of the Isle of Wight so special.’