New dinosaur found in Portugal, largest terrestrial predator from Europe

March 5, 2014
The new dinosaur species is estimated up to 10 meters long and 4-5 tons. Credit: Christophe Hendrickx

A new dinosaur species found in Portugal may be the largest land predator discovered in Europe, as well as one of the largest carnivorous dinosaurs from the Jurassic, according to a paper published in PLOS ONE on March 5, 2014 by co-authors Christophe Hendrickx and Octavio Mateus from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Museu da Lourinhã.

Scientists discovered bones belonging to this dinosaur north of Lisbon. They were originally believed to be Torvosaurus tanneri, a from North America. Closer comparison of the shin bone, upper jawbone, , and partial tail vertebrae suggest to the authors that it may warrant a new species name, Torvosaurus gurneyi.

T. gurneyi had blade-shaped teeth up to 10 cm long, which indicates it may have been at the top of the food chain in the Iberian Peninsula roughly 150 million years ago. The scientists estimate that the dinosaur could reach 10 meters long and weigh around 4 to 5 tons. The number of teeth, as well as size and shape of the mouth, may differentiate the European and the American Torvosaurus. The fossil of the upper jaw of T. tanneri has 11 or more teeth, while T. gurneyi has fewer than 11. Additionally, the mouth bones have a different shape and structure. The new dinosaur is the second of Torvosaurus to be named.

"This is not the largest predatory dinosaur we know. Tyrannosaurus, Carcharodontosaurus, and Giganotosaurus from the Cretaceous were bigger animals," said Christophe Hendrickx. "With a skull of 115 cm, Torvosaurus gurneyi was however one of the largest terrestrial carnivores at this epoch, and an active predator that hunted other large dinosaurs, as evidenced by blade shape teeth up to 10 cm." Fossil evidences of closely related suggest that this large predator may have already been covered with proto-feathers. Recently described dinosaur embryos from Portugal are also ascribed to the of Torvosaurus.

Fact file on a new dinosaur discovered in Portugal, the largest land predator found in Europe

Explore further: Best evidence yet that dinosaurs used feathers for courtship

More information: Hendrickx C, Mateus O (2014) Torvosaurus gurneyi n. sp., the Largest Terrestrial Predator from Europe, and a Proposed Terminology of the Maxilla Anatomy in Nonavian Theropods. PLoS ONE 9(3): e88905. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0088905

Related Stories

Best evidence yet that dinosaurs used feathers for courtship

January 4, 2013

A University of Alberta researcher's examination of fossilized dinosaur tail bones has led to a breakthrough finding: some feathered dinosaurs used tail plumage to attract mates, much like modern-day peacocks and turkeys.

Colossal new predatory dino terrorized early tyrannosaurs

November 22, 2013

A new species of carnivorous dinosaur – one of the three largest ever discovered in North America – lived alongside and competed with small-bodied tyrannosaurs 98 million years ago. This newly discovered species, Siats ...

Newly discovered raptor lived alongside T. rex

December 19, 2013

(Phys.org) —It's been a big year for the University of Alberta's Phil Currie, even by his standards as one of the world's top dinosaur hunters. He's lead instructor on Dino 101. This summer, he had a museum named after ...

First dinosaurs identified from Saudi Arabia

January 7, 2014

Dinosaur fossils are exceptionally rare in the Arabian Peninsula. An international team of scientists from Uppsala University, Museum Victoria, Monash University, and the Saudi Geological Survey have now uncovered the first ...

Recommended for you

Just how good (or bad) is the fossil record of dinosaurs?

August 28, 2015

Everyone is excited by discoveries of new dinosaurs – or indeed any new fossil species. But a key question for palaeontologists is 'just how good is the fossil record?' Do we know fifty per cent of the species of dinosaurs ...

Fractals patterns in a drummer's music

August 28, 2015

Fractal patterns are profoundly human – at least in music. This is one of the findings of a team headed by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen and Harvard University ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.