The remains of one of the largest wild predators in Europe dinosaurs They were discovered in the UK, scientists said Thursday.
Paleontologists at Britain’s University of Southampton said the crocodile-faced beast known as a spinosaurid lived 125 million years ago.And the After they found several prehistoric bones from her skeleton on the Isle of Wight, a small island off the southern coast of England.
“This was a huge animal,” Chris Parker, the doctoral student who led the study, said in a press release, adding that it was 33 feet long and weighed several tons.
“Just from some dimensions, it appears to represent one of the largest predatory dinosaurs found in Europe – and possibly even the largest known to date,” he said.
The team named it the “white rock spinosaurid” because bones from the creature’s back, hips, tail and limbs were found in the geographic layer known as white rock.
“Since it is only known from the scattered parts at present, we have not given it an official scientific name,” said Darren Naish, a paleontologist who co-authored the study. “We hope that additional remains will appear in time,” he added.
“Coastal environments don’t preserve things very well, so any discovery helps us understand dinosaurs at the time,” Neil Jostling, who oversaw the project, said by email Friday.
The study said the spinosaurid would have hunted lakes and sandy flats in search of food and would have relied on fish as an important part of its diet.
She added that the markings on the bones, including the networks of tunnels dug into the pelvis, indicated that the skeleton became food for rubbish and decomposers after death.
“It’s an intriguing idea that this giant killer ended up becoming a meal for a group of insects,” said Jeremy Lockwood, a doctoral student at the University of Portsmouth who was involved in the study.
The family of spinosaurs may have appeared in Europe about 150 million years ago, Parker said, adding that the creature the team found was “probably the smallest British Spinosaurus discovered to date, which expands the family’s time range.”
The team said that the next step will be to examine thin parts of the dinosaur bones under a microscope to get a better understanding of their growth rate and age.
But Parker said he hopes in the long term the material will be cleared for public viewing in full.
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