The dinosaur stood on its hind legs and captured its prey with its hands.
Researchers say fossil fragments found in Spain point to a new type of dinosaur.
Scientists proposed a new species of spinosaurid after studying the specimen, which includes a right jawbone, one tooth and five vertebrates, found in the Arcillas de Morella Formation in Castellón, Spain, in 2011, according to a study published in the journal Scientific reports Thursday.
Spinosaurs are often distinguished by their large bodies that stand on two legs. The dinosaur group, which includes Spinosaurus and Baryonyx, is also typically carnivorous.
The fossils date from the late Parmian or early Cretaceous period — between 127 million and 126 million years ago, the authors said. Based on the remains, researchers believe the dinosaur was between 10 and 11 meters long, or about 32 feet to 36 feet.
After comparing the specimen to other spinosaurs, the researchers identified it as a new species and genus of spinosaurids, naming it Protathlitis cinctorrensis, with Protathlitis meaning “champion” in Greek and “cinctorrensis” in honor of the town, Cinctorres, in which the fossils were unearthed, according to the study.
Chief researcher Jose Santos Cobido told ABC News that the name ‘champion’ refers to the UEFA Europa League title won by European soccer club Villarreal CF in 2021 and to celebrate the club’s centenary in 2023.
Santos Cobido said that the Protaphyllites synctorensis also had an elongated snout with many conical teeth and used their hands to catch prey.
The discovery indicates that the Iberian Peninsula may have been a diverse region for medium to large-bodied dinosaurs, which sheds more light on the origin and evolution of the dinosaur type.
It is believed that spinosaurs may have originated in Europe and then migrated from Africa to Asia, according to the paper. Evidence for their presence in Spain relies mostly on fossilized dental remains.
Researchers believe this new species may indicate that spinosaurus emerged during the early Cretaceous period in Laurasia — a large swath of land in the European Northern Hemisphere — with two subgroups of the species occupying western Europe, according to the paper.
Spinosaurs may have later migrated to Africa and Asia, where they diversified.
“In Europe, Baryonysaurs were dominant, while in Africa, Spinosaurs were the most abundant,” said Santos-Cobido.
“Infuriatingly humble alcohol fanatic. Unapologetic beer practitioner. Analyst.”