Yorkshire Museum

Alan the Dinosaur

Alan the Dinosaur is the name given to an unidentified Sauropodomorph fossil, found in 1995. The fossil is regarded as the oldest sauropod dinosaur found in the United Kingdom.

The remarkable fossil was found in Whitby by Alan Gurr, whilst on a field trip with geologist Phil Manning. After a significant chunk of sandstone fell from the cliff face, the stone was inspected by Gurr who spotted fragment of vertebra. Due to the fossil being unidentifiable to a species level, it was named ‘Alan’ after its finder. The fossil is encased within sandstone and measures 145mm in length.

Based on the position of the fossil in the cliff, it’s believed that it came from the Aalenian period of the Middle Jurassic, which dates the fossil at between 174.1 million and 170.3 million years old. This date makes the fossil the earliest evidence of a eusauropod dinosaur from the United Kingdom.

Alan the Dinosaur first was first displayed at the Yorkshire Museum in 2015, and now forms part of the Yorkshire’s Jurassic World Exhibition, which opened in 2018. The exhibition features a virtual reality experience in which users can feed a digital reconstruction of Alan.

Please note: The Yorkshire Museum is home to an extensive and varied collection of items and artefacts. Whilst we make every effort to display a broad spectrum of our collections it is not always possible for all our collections to be on display at once.