EDEN PROJECT founder Sir Tim Smit is backing an ambitious plan for an £85 million dinosaur theme park on Dorset's Jurassic Coast.
Sir Tim, whose tourist attraction in a former Cornish clay pit has attracted millions of visitors since it opened in 2001, is backing a new venture that aims to showcase the pre-history of England's south coast.
But the launch of Jurassica came as the attraction hit back after it was revealed the Eden Project had received hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money from Cornwall Council in the past three years.
Other high profile supporters backing Jurassica include Sir David Attenborough.
A former quarry near Portland has already been identified as the likely site for the attraction, which supporters say will be a serious scientific venture telling the story of the area's marine fossils.
Preliminary drawings of a domed glass and steel structure have been unveiled by Renzo Piano, who designed the Shard building in London.
Speaking after the launch, Mr Smit said: "The Jurassic Coast and its international importance as a window on the past is a wonderful national asset. My involvement in supporting Jurassica at Portland is based on my conviction that the opportunity for the region is to create something that will draw visitors, students and researchers from all over the world."