Torvosaurus Gurneyi: Scientists Find Fossil of Largest Terrestrial Predator From Europe

Posted on March 5, 2014

Skull of Torvosaurus gurneyi

A newly discovered dinosaur is the largest known ancient terrestrial predator from Europe. The dinosaur species was 10 meters long and weighed 4 to 5 tons. It was also one of the largest carnivorous from the Jurassic. The fossil was discovered in Portugal. A report on the new species was published in PLoS One by co-authors Christophe Hendrickx and Octavio Mateus from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Museu da Lourinha.

Sketch of Torvosaurus gurneyi

The bones were originally thought to belong to Torvosaurus tanneri, a dinosaur species from North America. Closer inspection of the bones revealed it is an entirely new species, Torvosaurus gurneyi. The skull of T. gurneyi is pictured above. T. gurneyi was named in honor of paleoartist James Gurney, creator of Dinotopia.

Christophe Hendrickx says in a statement, "This is not the largest predatory dinosaur we know. Tyrannosaurus, Carcharodontosaurus, and Giganotosaurus from the Cretaceous were bigger animal. 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."

Images: Christophe Hendrickx/PLoS One

More from Science Space & Robots