New dinosaur was a 32-meter-long predator with a crocodile face

New dinosaur was a 32-meter-long predator with a crocodile face

New dinosaur was a 32-meter-long predator with a crocodile face

  • Remains of Europe’s largest ever land-based dinosaur were discovered in England, scientists say.
  • The prehistoric bones belonged to a two-legged crocodile-faced dinosaur.
  • Paleontologists at the University of Southampton said the predator was 32 feet long and lived 125 million years ago.

The dinosaur remains found off the south coast of England may be the largest land predator to ever roam Europe, scientists say.

Paleontologists from the University of Southampton identified the prehistoric bones as belonging to a type of two-legged, crocodile-like predatory dinosaur known as spinosaurids.

The carnivore is said to have been over 32 feet long and lived about 125 million years ago.

PhD student Chris Barker, who led the study, said it was a “huge animal” that probably weighed several tons.

“Judging from some of its dimensions, it appears to be one of the largest predatory dinosaurs ever found in Europe — perhaps even the largest known to date,” Barker said.

“It is a pity that only a small amount of material is known, but these are enough to show that it was an immense creature.”

The bones, which were discovered on the Isle of Wight, include huge pelvic and tail vertebrae.

This Isle of Wight is also known as “Dinosaur Island” because it is a rich repository of dinosaur remains. No fewer than 29 species have been observed in the soft clay and sandstone that are rapidly eroding, revealing the secrets of life on Earth more than 100 million years ago.

The latest discovery has been nicknamed the “white rock spinosaurid,” after the geological layer in which it was found. Researchers said it hasn’t been given a formal scientific name yet.

The dinosaur would have lived at the beginning of a period of rising sea levels, stalking lagoon waters and sandbars in search of food, scientists say.

Researchers previously said the unusual, crocodile-like skulls of spinosaurids allowed them to hunt prey both on land and in the water.

The team now hopes to strip thin sections of the material to scan the microscopic internal properties of the bones to shed light on the animal’s growth rate and possible age.

“Most of these amazing fossils were found by Nick Chase, one of Britain’s most skilled dinosaur hunters, who sadly died just before the COVID epidemic,” said study co-author Jeremy Lockwood, a PhD student at the University of Portsmouth and the Natural History Museum.

“I was looking for remains of this dinosaur with Nick and found a section of pelvis with tunnels drilled into it, each about the size of my index finger. We believe they were caused by the bone-eating larvae of a species of scavenger beetle.

The discovery of the white rock spinosaurid follows previous work on spinosaurids done by the same team, which published a study last year on the discovery of two new species.

“This new animal supports our previous argument — published last year — that spinosaurid dinosaurs originated and diversified in western Europe before they became more widespread,” said study co-author Darren Naish.