Discovery of the largest carnivorous crocodile-faced dinosaur in Europe

Scientists said on Thursday (June 9) a giant crocodile-headed carnivorous dinosaur had been discovered on the Isle of Wight by one of Britain’s top fossil hunters. Experts say it was probably the largest predator to ever stalk Europe and prowled what is now England around 125 million years ago. Most of the bones of the two-legged spinosaurid were found by late local collector Nick Chase.

Parts of the skeleton were found, including back, hip and tail bones, limb fragments, but no skull or teeth. In a study published in the journal PeerJ Life & Environment, it was revealed that researchers at the University of Southampton used the few bones available to identify what they called the “White Rock spinosaurid”.

Chris Barker, a PhD student who led the study, said: “It was an enormous animal, exceeding 10 meters (33 feet) in length and judging by some dimensions probably represents the largest predatory dinosaur ever. found in Europe.”

So far, researchers have yet to give the newly described dinosaur a scientific name because the remains were incomplete. However, they call the giant dinosaur the “White Rock spinosaurid”.


A diagram shows the fossil remains of a carnivorous dinosaur dubbed the ‘White Rock spinosaurid’, dating to around 125 million years ago during the Cretaceous period, discovered on England’s Isle of Wight.

The study found that a combination of features suggests it is a member of the Spinosauridae. However, there is a lack of convincing autapomorphies which prevents the identification of a new taxon. He further added that it was the first spinosaurid reported in the Vectis Formation and the youngest British material mentioned in the clade.

“Our findings are consistent with previous studies that emphasize Western Europe as a pivotal region in the origin and diversification of spinosaurids,” the study notes.

Thomas Richard Holtz, a University of Maryland vertebrate paleontologist, said the new find “appears to be larger” than a huge predator whose fossilized remains were found in Portugal. Holtz is not involved in the study.


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