British fossil hunter discovers Europe’s largest predatory dinosaur

Artist’s drawing of the huge white rock spinuride.

A giant crocodile-faced dinosaur discovered on the Isle of Wight by one of Britain’s best fossil hunters may have been the largest predator ever to hunt Europe, scientists said Thursday.

Most of the two-legged bones of Spinosaurus were found by the late local collector Nick Chase, who devoted his life to combing island beaches on the southern coast of England in search of dinosaur remains.

In a study published in the journal, the researchers said that researchers at the University of Southampton then used the few bones available to identify what they called ‘white rock spinosauride’. berg.

“This was a huge animal, exceeding 10 meters (33 feet) in length and, judging by some dimensions, possibly the largest predatory dinosaur found in Europe,” said Chris Parker, Ph.D. The student who led the study.

And while Parker admitted it would be better to get more bones, Parker told AFP that “the numbers don’t lie, they are bigger than the largest known sample” previously found in Europe.

Thomas Richard Holtz, a vertebrate paleontologist from the University of Maryland who was not involved in the study, agreed that the new find “appears to be larger” than a massive predator whose fossilized remains were discovered in Portugal.

Matt Lamanna, a dinosaur paleontologist at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in the US, praised the “excellent and comprehensive study of the specimen” due to the lack of bones, but said it was difficult to compare the sizes.

For example, he said the largest known Spinosaurus, Spinosaurus, was likely the tallest such dinosaur “but it probably wasn’t as heavy” as Tyrannosaurus rex or Giganotosaurus — “the latter is about to become very popular.” To the movie “Jurassic” The “new” world.

The best preserved bones of a white rock spinosauride, including the tail vertebra that helped determine its gigantic size

The best preserved bones of a white rock spinosauride, including the tail vertebra that helped determine its gigantic size.

Why the long face?

white rock spinosauride – which researchers hope to name officially a new speciesIt is from the early Cretaceous period and is estimated to be around 125 million years old.

This makes it the smallest Spinosaurus found in Britain, Parker said, two or three million years younger than the known Baryonyx.

Spinosaurs are famous for their elongated heads. Instead of the boxy skull of Tyrannosaurus rex, their faces look more like that of a crocodile.

The leading theory to explain this trait is that they hunt in the water as well as on land.

“They are like storks and herons, wading through the water and catching fish from the surface,” Parker said.

White rock spinosauride has been discovered in a few coastal lagoon environment dinosaur fossils usually found.

“This helps begin to paint a picture of what animals were living with at the time, which is a very little known part of English paleontological heritage,” Parker added.

Nick Chase, described by scientists as

Nick Chase, described by scientists as “one of Britain’s most skilled dinosaur hunters,” has discovered most of the new spinosaurus bones.

The team had already identified two new species of spinosaurus on the Isle of Wight, including the inferential ceratocops – dubbed “hell herons.”

“This new animal supports our earlier argument – published last year – that the Spinosaurus arose and diversified in Western Europe before becoming more widespread,” said study co-author Darren Naish.

Collector’s “Super Power”

Paleontologists have paid tribute to Chase, who has always donated all the bones he found to museums.

“Most of these amazing fossils were found by Nick Chase, one of Britain’s most skilled dinosaur hunters, who unfortunately died before the Covid epidemic,” said Jeremy Lockwood, co-author of the study. Student at the University of Portsmouth.

Parker said Chase’s “uncanny ability” to find bones showed that “it’s not just professional paleontologists who influence the discipline.”

He added that the discovery “highlights the fact that collectors have a large role in modern paleontology and that their generosity helps advance science.”

And if there are any ambitious fossil hunters hoping to continue where Chase left off, paleontologists will welcome more bones of white-rock spinosaurs.

“Hopefully someone will pick up some of the pieces and donate them,” Parker said.

Europe’s largest land predator discovered on the Isle of Wight

more information:
Chris T. Parker et al., Giant European: Large Spinosaurus (Dinosaur: Theropoda) of the Fictis Formation (Welden Group, Early Cretaceous), UK, berg (2022). DOI: 10.7717 / peerj.13543

Journal information:

© 2022 AFP

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