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.
Most important points:
- The remains were found along Compton Bay on the southwest coast of Wright Island
- Scientists call the dinosaur the “White Rock spinosaurid”, based on the geological layer where the bones were found
- The newly described dinosaur could grow as long as… t. rex, according to a scientist
Paleontologists said they found parts of the dinosaur’s skeleton, including bones of the back, hips and tail, and some fragments of limbs, but no skull or teeth.
Based on the partial remains, they estimate that the as-yet-unnamed dinosaur was more than 10 meters long, but perhaps much more, and lived about 125 million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period.
“The size of the specimen is impressive. It is one of the largest – and possibly the largest – known land predators to have ever hunted Europe,” said Chris Barker, a doctoral student of paleontology at the University of Southampton and lead author of the study published in the journal PeerJ Life & Environment†
Based in part on a series of small grooves on the top of the tail vertebra, they concluded it belonged to a group of dinosaurs called spinosaurs, including Spinosaurus, which lived about 95 million years ago — and at about 15 meters in length is considered the longest. -known dinosaur predator.
The researchers have not yet given the newly described dinosaur a scientific name due to the incomplete nature of the remains — but are calling it the “White Rock spinosaurid,” based on the geological layer where the bones were found.
Spinosaurs had elongated skulls reminiscent of crocodiles, with many cone-shaped teeth – perfect for grabbing smooth prey – as well as strong arms and large claws. They fed on aquatic prey, as well as other dinosaurs.
Carnivorous dinosaurs belonged to a group called theropods, with each continent producing huge examples.
They were bipedal and the largest had huge skulls and strong teeth.
Spinosaurus was the largest in Africa. Tyrannosaurus Rexapproaching 13 meters was the king of North America, while the Giganotosaurus of similar size reigned in South America and the slightly smaller Tarbosaurus in Asia.
The largest known theropod from Europe was Torvosaurus, about 10 meters long.
The newly described dinosaur could grow as long as… T. rexaccording to the University of Southampton paleobiologist and the study’s corresponding author, Neil Gostling.
This dino lived in a lagoon environment
By looking at the teeth, researchers can better understand this dinosaur’s position on the spinosaurus family tree.
The fossils were found on the surface along Compton Bay on the southwest coast of the Isle of Wight.
The dinosaur lived in a lagoon environment that was also populated by several herbivorous dinosaurs and flying reptiles called pterosaurs.
The sea level was much higher then than it is now and large parts of Europe were under water.
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 other spinosaurs from the Isle of Wight Cretaceous, both about 9 meters long.
Those finds, combined with the latter, support their hypothesis that spinosaurs originated and diversified as a group in Western Europe before expanding elsewhere.
“This new material confirms our previous work highlighting Europe as an important region for spinosaur diversification,” Barker said.
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