Where there are herbivores, there are carnivores. The gigantic Sauropods of the Jurassic must have been a feast for the gigantic carnivorous dinosaurs – whether they killed them or scavenged on dead bodies. Just this year, 2014, a new species of predatory dinosaur was described from Europe, and it may be the largest Jurassic predator known.
|Torvosaurus in Museum of Ancient Life in Lehi, Utah, U.S.A.|
Photo by leon7 used under Creative Commons license
In both the Morrison and in Portugal, the top predator was a dinosaur of the genus Torvosaurus – a carnivore that at a glance looks a lot like Tyrannosaurus, which is a Cretaceous dinosaur. Torvosaurus was about 10 meters, 33 feet, long, and bipedal. Despite all the exploration in the Morrison formation, it wasn’t until 1971 that the first Torvosaurus specimens were found in Colorado. The Portuguese specimens, discovered in 2000, have just this year been described as the second species within the genus Torvosaurus. The differences with the Morrison species are not huge, and the species are differentiated on the basis of the number of teeth and the shape of the mouth.
The Portuguese rocks have also yielded eggs and embryos that are ascribed to Torvosaurus. The specimens are the oldest theropod dinosaur eggs with a single layer to the shell.
The Portuguese specimen is the largest land carnivore known in Europe, and among the largest Jurassic carnivores anywhere. Other carnivores shared its ecosystem, including Allosaurus and Ceratosaurus.
—Richard I. GibsonLINKS:
Largest predator in Europe
Torvosaurus in Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah, U.S.A. Photo by leon7 used under Creative Commons license