London, Apr 13: In movies, it might look that the Jurassic Park would have existed in the Lost World, but according to a group of researchers Britain was actually a dinosaur heaven 140 million years ago.
In the first attempted "census" of the country's dinosaurs, academics from the University of Portsmouth have identified 108 species - found since the first discovery in 1824. The research team believes that the variety of creatures make Britain an important area for dinosaur remains. The high concentration of species may have been the result of Britain's position as a land bridge during the Cretaceous period 140m years ago, according to scientists.
Dinosaurs spread along it between the landmasses, which are now Europe, and North America. "What was a surprise to us was just how diverse the British dinosaur population was, and that we are still getting new species being discovered," the Telegraph quoted Dr David Martill, a reader in palaeobiology and one of the study's authors, as saying.
"The real thrill is that we have had people searching for dinosaur fossils in the UK for around 200 years. But if we are still finding new species now, then the diversity must have been terrific," Martill said.
In the study, the team compared fossils from Britain with those from Asia, America and Africa, finding similarities to support their hypothesis that Britain was a thoroughfare for migrating dinosaurs as well as home to a rich native population.
Martill added: "We're finding quite a strong link between China, North America and even Africa. At the time there was a land passage to get between the continents and we seem to have ended up with such a diverse assembly because dinosaurs from both sides mixed here in the middle."
Angela Milner, associate keeper of palaeontology at the Natural History Museum in London, said: "Dinosaurs weren't a great American invention, as some people like to think. The history of dinosaurs began in England."
The study is published in the Geological Society of London.