Archaeologists May Have Found The Remains of Europe's Largest Ever Land Predator

Thanks to a fossil find on an island off the south coast of England, scientists have discovered traces of what may have previously been Europe's largest terrestrial hunter.

Archaeologists believe the bones of a massive two-legged predator discovered lately on the Isle of Wight may be the continent's biggest theropod.

The lone opponent is a potential megalosaurid discovered in the Jurassic geology of France, according to an unpublished description of a big vertebra.

Tyrannosaurs, megalosaurs, velociraptors, and spinosaurs were members of the theropod clade, which includes tyrannosaurs, megalosaurs, velociraptors, and spinosaurs. These prehistoric beasts were the only huge, land-based carnivores available throughout the Early Jurassic, and Spinosauruses were possibly the longest and largest of the bunch.

Spinosaurus fossils found in northern African riverbeds can reach epic proportions, indicating a body length of more than 15 meters (49 feet) and a mass of more than 13 metric tons.

The Isle of Wight fossils aren't exactly as big, but they appear to be bigger than any other Spinosaurus fossil found in southern England or southwest Europe, according to the scientists.

"This was a huge animal, exceeding 10 m in length, and judging from some of the dimensions, probably represents the largest predatory dinosaur ever found in Europe," says University of Southampton paleontologist Chris Barker.

"It's just a shame it's only known from such scant material."

Fossils of Spinosaurus are quite uncommon. On the Isle of Wight, just three probable species have been discovered so far, and they were only discovered a few years ago.

Although it's difficult to say with so little remnants, Barker and his colleagues believe their recent discovery on the southwest coast represents a separate species.

The dinosaur's pelvis and tail bones show that it was massive, and the webbing on its vertebrae suggests that it was a Spinosaurus.

The fossils were discovered in a habitat that matches what we know about Spinosaurs. The boulder in which the fossil was discovered is all that's left of a once-sandy lagoon where the predator most likely fished.

If the dinosaur was like other spinosaurs at the period, it might have been a good swimmer.

For the time being, the dinosaur has been dubbed the "White Rock spinosaurid," for its presumed phylogeny and the sandstone it was discovered in. However, whether the bones belong to an undiscovered spinosaurid or another massive theropod is still a matter of discussion.

"Because it's only known from fragments at the moment, we haven't given it a formal scientific name," explains vertebrate paleontologist Darren Naish of the University of Southampton.

"We hope that additional remains will turn up in time."