Scientists claim to have found the oldest sauropod dinosaur in the UK from a fossilized bone that was discovered near Whitby, Yorkshire. The creature is believed to have walked the Earth approximately 176 million years ago during the Middle Jurassic Period.

Sauropods were among the biggest herbivorous dinosaurs that lived. Also known as brontosaurs, this group of dinosaurs was successful for almost 150 million years.

They are characterized by small heads, long necks and tails as well as a large body. Argentinosaurus, one of the species of sauropods that lived, measured 115 feet long and may have weighed up to 80 tons.

The findings, which were published in the journal PLOS ONE on June 1, provided additional evidence from Yorkshire dinosaur tracks that this particular part of the country was once UK's own version of a "Jurassic World."

"A new record of a sauropodomorph dinosaur is here described from the Middle Jurassic (Aalenian) Saltwick Formation of Whitby (Yorkshire), UK. A single caudal vertebra represents an early sauropodomorph and signifies the earliest recognized eusauropod dinosaur from the United Kingdom," researchers wrote.

The fossil was a rare find because rocks from the Middle Jurassic period only get some exposures in some areas such as Argentina and China. The researchers used X-Ray Tomography to examine the fossil bone, which is currently at the Yorkshire Museum in the UK and will be on show from June 8.

Yorkshire Museum natural science curator Sarah King said that they have some of the best fossil samples from the area in their collection and they are delighted to display the bone of the oldest sauropod in the UK for the public.

Study researcher Phil Manning, from the University of Manchester in the UK, and his colleagues, nicknamed the sauropod "Alan," after Alan Gurr, the finder of the dinosaur, pending the discovery of more bones. The researchers said that it is not possible to define a new species based only on a single bone.

Manning said that it came as a surprise to find a fossil vertebra from the Middle Jurassic rocks of Yorkshire that was obviously from the plant-eating sauropod dinosaur. He added that the fossil is the oldest fossil evidence of sauropods in the UK.

"This fossil offers the earliest 'body fossil' evidence for this important group of dinosaurs in the United Kingdom, but it is impossible to define a new species based upon this single bone," said Manning.

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