New dinosaur discovered in Portugal

By Brooks Hays  |  March 5, 2014 at 6:18 PM
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LISBON, Portugal, March 5 (UPI) -- A new species of dinosaur has been discovered in Portugal -- potentially the largest land predator to roam prehistoric Europe, and one of the biggest carnivores ever.

Paleontologists Christophe Hendrickx and Octavio Mateus, of Universidade Nova de Lisboa, or the "New University of Lisbon," have named the new species of dinosaur Torvosaurus gurneyi.

The two scientists detailed their findings in a recent paper published in PLOS ONE.

"This is not the largest predatory dinosaur we know," explained Hendrickx. "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."

Excavated just north of Lisbon, paleontologists originally thought the fossils might belong to Torvosaurus tanneri, a dinosaur species originating from North America. But a more detailed examination found differences in the composition of the new species' shin bone, upper jawbone, teeth, and partial tail vertebrae.

The predator roamed the Iberian Peninsula some 150 million years ago. The scientists say T. gurneyi had blade-shaped teeth nearly 4 inches long, and estimated that it could grow as long as 33 feet, weighing four or five tons.

Octavio Mateus, one of the world's leading paleontologists, has a knack for discovering new dinosaur species. In 2012, Mateus helped scientists in Wyoming unearth a never-before-seen plant-eater called Kaatedocus siberi.

[PLOS ONE] [Discovery News]

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