More than ten meters long and a crocodile head: Fossils of a 125-million-year-old carnivorous dinosaur, possibly the largest predator that ever lived in Europe, have been discovered on the British Isle of Wight, according to a study published Thursday. Credit for this precious find goes to the local archaeological collector, the British Nick Chase, who spent his life searching for the beaches of this island in southern England, among the richest sites in Europe with dinosaur fossils.
Among the few bones he discovered (the cervical, caudal and sacral vertebrae in particular), researchers from the University of Southampton were able to identify the monster, a bipedal Spinosaurus, this super predator that lived in the Lower Cretaceous period (between 145 million and 100 million years ago).
“The largest predator ever discovered in Europe”
“It was a gigantic animal over 10 meters in length. Given some of its dimensions, it probably represents the largest predator ever discovered in Europe,” according to Chris Parker, the paleontologist who led the study published in Peer J. “The figures Don’t lie: it is larger than the largest specimen ever found in Europe.”
“White-rock Spinosaurus” (“the white stone” where its bones were found), the name scientists hope to give to a new species, surveyed the area about 125 million years ago. It will be the smallest specimen ever discovered in Great Britain of the Spinosaurus family, including the famous Baryonyx, one of the heroes of the film series. Jurassic Park.
“Like a heron”
This family can be recognized by its elongated head, like that of a crocodile, in contrast to the square skulls of the T-rex. Some theories link this morphology to their hunting style, on land as well as in the water. “They were like storks and herons, roaming around and catching fish on the surface,” says Chris Parker.
Giant fossils were discovered on the southwest coast of the island, in a lake geological formation that revealed a historical layer that is still unknown. The discovery of the super predator comes “to strengthen our arguments that this family of dinosaurs originated in Western Europe and diversified there, before spreading elsewhere” across the planet, added Darren Naish, co-author of the study.
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