33 Feet Long Dinosaur, Europe’s Largest Land Predator Discovered in Portugal
By Samantha Goodwin | Mar 06, 2014 04:27 AM EST
A 33 feet long dinosaur recently discovered in Portugal is believed to be Europe's largest ever land predator.
The dinosaur, named Torvosaurus gurneyi, is also touted among the largest carnivorous dinosaurs of the Jurassic Period. The species was 33 feet long and weighed over 2,200 pound, according to a Discovery News report.
The discovery was made by Christophe Hendrickx and Octavio Mateus from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Museu da Lourinhã and findings were published online in PLOS.
Initially, the researchers thought that the newly discovered bones belonged to a Torvosaurus tanneri. However, on closer inspection of the shin bone, upper jawbone, teeth, and partial tail vertebrae, the authors decided that it may warrant a new species name, Torvosaurus gurneyi.
The new species has 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 number of teeth, as well as size and shape of the mouth differentiates the European and the American Torvosaurus.
Researchers also speculate that the dinosaur could reach 10 meters in length and weigh around 4 to 5 tons. The new dinosaur is the second species of Torvosaurus to be named.
Though the dinosaur may be Europe's largest ever land predator, it is not the largest predatory dinosaur known to mankind. Tyrannosaurus, Carcharodontosaurus, and Giganotosaurus from the Cretaceous were bigger animals.
"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," Hendrickx told Live Science.
The dinosaur was also smaller than its cousin, T.Rex, which grew about 40 feet (12 m) from head to toe.