Scientists Find Dinosaur That Was Scourge of Jurassic Europe

Wednesday, 05 Mar 2014 05:16 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
In Europe 150 million years ago, this dude was the biggest, baddest bully in town.

Two scientists in Portugal announced on Wednesday that they have identified the largest carnivorous dinosaur ever found in Europe, a 33-foot-long brute called Torvosaurus gurneyi that was the scourge of its domain in the Jurassic Period.

"It was indeed better not to cross the way of this large, carnivorous dinosaur," said paleontologist Christophe Hendrickx of Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Museu da Lourinhã in Portugal.

Torvosaurus gurneyi was an imposing beast. It was bipedal, weighed four to five tons, had a skull almost 4 feet long, boasted powerful jaws lined with blade-shaped teeth four inches long, and may have been covered with an early type of feather, Hendrickx said.

"Torvosaurus gurneyi was obviously a super predator feeding on large prey like herbivorous dinosaurs," Hendrickx said.

Remains of the new species were unearthed in Portugal by an amateur fossil hunter in 2003 in the rock cliffs of Lourinhã, a small town about 45 miles north of Lisbon, Hendrickx said. He said fossilized embryos probably belonging to this species were identified last year in Portugal.

The findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE.

At the time that Torvosaurus prowled the landscape, the region was a lush river delta with abundant fresh water and vegetation. The area teemed with dinosaurs and flying reptiles known as pterosaurs, primitive birds, crocodiles, turtles and mouse-sized mammals, according to paleontologist Octávio Mateus, also of Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Museu da Lourinhã.

Plant-eating dinosaurs living in the area included the huge, long-necked Lusotitan, the armored, tank-like Dracopelta and the spiky-tailed Miragaia, Mateus added.

The two scientists said this is the second species of the genus Torvosaurus. The other one, Torvosaurus tanneri, lived at the same time in North America. It was known in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming and was identified in 1979.

Its genus name, Torvosaurus, means "savage lizard." Its species name, gurneyi, honors James Gurney, the author and illustrator of the popular "Dinotopia" book series.

Torvosaurus gurneyi was not the only meat-eating dinosaur in its neighborhood. For example, there was a European species of the well-known North American Jurassic predator Allosaurus, but the Torvosaurus found in Portugal was larger.

Torvosaurus gurneyi not only is the largest known meat-eating dinosaur from Europe, but is the biggest land predator of any kind ever found on the continent, they added.

There were larger dinosaur carnivores elsewhere, however.

Tyrannosaurus in North America, Carcharodontosaurus and Spinosaurus in North Africa and Giganotosaurus in Argentina all were bigger, but appeared on Earth much later than Torvosaurus, during the Cretaceous Period that followed the Jurassic Period.

"This animal, Torvosaurus, was already a fossil for 80 million years before the T. rex ever walked the Earth," Mateus said.

During the Jurassic Period from about 200 million years ago to 145 million years ago, carnivorous dinosaurs generally were medium-sized, with an average length of about 7 to 16 feet. Larger ones like Torvosaurus, Allosaurus and Saurophaganax arrived in the late Jurassic Period.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Study Links Polar Vortex Chills to Melting Sea Ice

Tuesday, 02 Sep 2014 20:41 PM

Remember the polar vortex, the huge mass of Arctic air that can plunge much of the U.S. into the deep freeze? You might  . . .

Netflix: Local Governments Should Set Up High-Speed Web Networks

Tuesday, 02 Sep 2014 19:35 PM

Netflix, the company that streams movies and original programming over the Internet, has weighed in on a petition to the . . .

Apple Says ICloud Not Breached in Celebrity Photo Hack

Tuesday, 02 Sep 2014 15:22 PM

Apple said Tuesday that certain accounts of Hollywood celebrities were compromised via a very targeted attack on its s . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved