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The largest meat-eating dinosaur in Europe was found on the Isle of Wight

The largest meat-eating dinosaur in Europe was found on the Isle of Wight

June 9 (Reuters) – Fossilized bones have been found on a rocky beach on England’s Isle of Wight, the remains of a carnivorous dinosaur that may have been larger than any other known in Europe, a beast that was a cousin of the largest carnivorous dinosaur. registered.

Paleontologists said Thursday they have found parts of the skeleton of the dinosaur, which lived about 125 million years ago during the Cretaceous period, including back bones, hips and tail, and some limb fragments but no skull or teeth. Based on the partial remains, they estimated that the dinosaur exceeded 33 feet (10 meters) in length and may have reached much more than that.

Chris Parker, a PhD student in paleontology at the University of Southampton and lead author of the study published in PeerJ Life & Environment.

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Based in part on a series of small grooves above the tail vertebra, they concluded that it belonged to a group of dinosaurs called spinosaurs that included the Spinosaurus, which lived about 95 million years ago and about 50 feet (15 meters) long is considered the longest known dinosaur predator. Read more

Spinosaurs had elongated skulls reminiscent of crocodiles with many conical teeth – ideal 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 not yet given a scientific name to the newly described dinosaur, but they have called it a “white rock spinosaurid” based on the geological layer in which the bones were found. They believe he is not a member of any predetermined species.

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Carnivorous dinosaurs belong to a clade called theropods, with every continent producing enormous examples. They were on two legs and the largest of them had huge skulls and strong teeth.

Spinosaurus was the largest in Africa. Tyrannosaurus rex, close to 42 feet (13 meters) long, was the king of North America, while a similarly sized Giganotosaurus predominated in South America and the slightly smaller Tarbosaurus in Asia. The largest theropod known from Europe was Torvosaurus, at 33 feet (10 m). Read more

It may turn out that the newly described dinosaur may have been as tall as a T-Rex, according to University of Southampton paleontologist and study corresponding author Neil Jostling.

“That’s really big,” said Jostling. “Let’s hope more fossils come out. We like a skull or teeth.”

Looking at the teeth can help researchers better understand the position of this dinosaur on the Spinosaurus family tree.

The fossils have been spotted at the surface along Compton Bay on the southwest coast of the Isle of Wight. Dinosaurs inhabited a lake environment that was also inhabited by many plant-eating dinosaurs and flying reptiles called pterosaurs. At that time, sea levels were much higher than they are today and large parts of Europe were inundated.

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The Isle of Wight has become one of the richest places in Europe for dinosaur remains. The same team of researchers announced last year the discovery of two more species of White Island Cretaceous Spinosaurus, both about 30 feet (9 meters) long. Read more

These discoveries, along with the latter, support their hypothesis that Spinosaurus as a group originated and diversified in Western Europe before expanding elsewhere.

“This new material supports our previous work highlighting Europe as an important region for Spinosaurus diversification,” Parker said.

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(Will Dunham reports in Washington); Editing by Lisa Schumaker

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