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In Images: A Ferocious Predatory Dinosaur in Europe

Jawbone discovery

torvosaurus jawbone

(Image credit: Aart Wallen)

A 2014 paper has identified a new species of top predator from Europe. In 2003, an amateur paleontologist discovered part of a dinosaur jawbone in sediments near Lourinha, Portugal.

Huge teeth

torvosaurus skull

(Image credit: Octávio Mateus)

The fearsome creature had huge bladelike teeth and an elongated snout.

Torvosaurus?

skull reconstruction of Torvosaurus gurneyi

(Image credit: Simão Mateus)

The jawbone, shown here in a skull reconstruction was originally though to belong to Torvosaurus tanneri a predator found in North America.

Closer inspection

christophe hendrickx and octavio mateus

(Image credit: Mateus and Hendrickx)

But Christophe Hendrickx and Octavio Mateus, researchers at the Universade Nova de Lisboa, took a closer look and determined it was a new species.

Fearsome creature

torvosaurus menaces prey

(Image credit: Sergey Krasovskiy)

The Torvosaurus gurneyi was likely a top land-based predator in its day, and may have hunted large herbivores.

Giant predator

torvosaurus and man together

(Image credit: Scott Hartman and Carol Abraczinskas, )

The Torvosaurus was one of the biggest land predators, and could reach 33 feet (10 meters) and weigh 4 to 5 tons.

Giant

(Image credit: Photograph © Julius T. Csotonyi (csotonyi.com). Image used with permission.)

Still, it was slightly smaller than Tyrannosaurus rex, the king of the predators.

Tia Ghose
Tia has interned at Science News, Wired.com, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and has written for the Center for Investigative Reporting, Scientific American, and ScienceNow. She has a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California Santa Cruz.