Europe’s Largest Carnivorous Dinosaur Found on the Isle of Wight

June 9 (Reuters) – Fossilized bones discovered on a rocky shore on England’s Isle of Wight are the remains of a carnivorous dinosaur that may be larger than any known from Europe, an animal that was a cousin to the largest species of carnivorous dinosaur. on record.

Paleontologists said on Thursday they had found skeletal parts of the dinosaur, which lived about 125 million years ago during the Cretaceous period, including bones of the back, hips and tail, some fragments of limbs, but no skull or teeth. Based on the partial remains, they estimated that the dinosaur exceeded 10 meters in length and perhaps reached much more.

“The size of the specimen is impressive. It is one of the largest – and possibly the largest – land predators known to stalk Europe,” said Chris Barker, a doctoral student in paleontology at the University of Southampton and lead author of the study published in the journal PeerJ. Life & Environment.

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Based in part on a series of small grooves on top of the tail vertebra, they concluded that it belonged to a group of dinosaurs called spinosaurs that included Spinosaurus, which lived about 95 million years ago and was about 15 meters tall. of lenght. It is considered the oldest known predator of dinosaurs. see More information

Spinosaurs had elongated crocodile-like skulls with lots of conical teeth – perfect for catching slippery prey – as well as strong arms and large claws. They fed on aquatic prey as well as other dinosaurs.

Because of the incomplete nature of the remains, researchers have yet to give the newly described dinosaur a scientific name, but are calling it the “White Rock Spinosaurid” based on the geological layer where the bones were found. They believe it is not a member of any previously identified species.

Carnivorous dinosaurs belonged to a clade called theropods, with each continent producing immense specimens. They were bipedal and the largest had massive skulls and strong teeth.

Spinosaurus was the largest in Africa. The Tyrannosaurus rex, about 13 meters tall, was the king of North America, while the similarly sized Giganotosaurus reigned in South America and the slightly smaller Tarbosaurus in Asia. The largest known theropod from Europe was Torvosaurus, at about 33 feet (10 meters). see More information

The newly described dinosaur could be as long as T. rex, according to University of Southampton paleobiologist and corresponding author of the study, Neil Gostling.

“This one is really big,” said Gostling. “Let’s hope more fossils turn up. We’d love a skull or teeth.”

Looking at the teeth could help researchers better understand this dinosaur’s position in the Spinosaurus family tree.

Fossils have been seen on the surface along Compton Bay on the southwest coast of the Isle of Wight. The dinosaur inhabited a lagoon environment also populated by several herbivorous dinosaurs and flying reptiles called pterosaurs. At the time, sea levels were much higher than today and much of Europe was underwater.

The Isle of Wight has become one of Europe’s richest sites for dinosaur remains. The same team of researchers announced last year the discovery of two more Cretaceous spinosaurs on the Isle of Wight, both measuring about 30 feet in length. see More information

These findings combined with the latest one support his hypothesis that Spinosaurs as a group originated and diversified in Western Europe before expanding elsewhere.

“This new material supports our previous work that highlights Europe as an important region for spinosaur diversification,” said Barker.

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Reporting by Will Dunham in Washington; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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