Gloucestershire man builds Dinosaur Sculpture in Garden
Dinosaurs are a source of fascination for young and old alike, but one Gloucestershire man has taken his interest in palaeontology to new heights by building a 14 ft high model of a Baryonyx in his back garden. Russell Batten, 49, from the town of Brockworth (just outside Gloucester), carved the sculpture out of polystyrene, using electronically charged hot wires.
His sculpture depicts this large Theropod in an aggressive posture with its head facing up to the sky, as if it was roaring to ward off rivals and defend its territory.
Russell has always been fascinated with prehistoric animals, especially dinosaurs and as he stood proudly by his statue he dedicated his work – the first Baryonyx seen in southern England for a few million years, to his children.
Baryonyx is nick-named the “English” dinosaur by many palaeontologists, as its remains were first found by an amateur palaeontologist – William Walker whilst he was exploring a Surrey clay pit. The animal dates from 125-120 million years ago and maybe the ancestor of the Spinosaurs. Estimates for the size of Baryonyx vary, as the fossil unearthed in the Surrey clay pit was of an immature adult, but this fierce dinosaur could have grown to over 10 metres in length. The distinctive “kinked” jaws indicate that this animal was a piscivore (fish eater). Using its long, straight neck, Baryonyx may have looked out over water and hooked fish out with its massive thumb claws. The thumb claw actually gives Baryonyx its name (means heavy claw). These claws could be up to 30 cm long and would have been very effective at grabbing fish.
The fish hunting theory has gained credence as in the Surrey specimen, scales belonging to a fish called Lepidotes were found in the area where the stomach would have been. Fossil bones of a small Iguanodon were also found, suggesting that this large carnivore did not always stick to the fishy diet but was a bit of an opportunist.
Never-the-less, great to see a fishing dinosaur in Gloucestershire.
To view a model of Baryonyx designed by palaeontologists at the Natural History museum in London: Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models.