A new species of dinosaur found in Portugal likely used brute force to take down prey, a new study says. Torvosaurus gurneyi, perhaps the biggest predatory dinosaur yet found in Europe, was an especially strong carnivore that likely used its four-inch-long (ten-centimeter-long), blade-shaped teeth and sharp-clawed forearms to rip into its prey.
The 32-foot-long (10-meter-long) beast roamed the Iberian Peninsula—home to modern-day Spain, Portugal, Andorra, and parts of France—about 150 million years ago during the late Jurassic period.
Christophe Hendrickx, a Ph.D. student at the New University of Lisbon in Portugal, discovered the giant while studying bones believed to belong to Torvosaurus tanneri, a related species that lived in North America's Rocky Mountain region around the same time. When the continents were connected as part of the supercontinent Pangaea, dinosaurs could potentially have migrated from North America to Europe or vice versa. But upon closer inspection, these bones—taken from the fossil-rich Lourinhã Formation in west-central Portugal—didn't look like T. tanneri. For one, the upper jaw had fewer teeth, this bone and the tail vertebrae differed—all suggesting that Hendrickx and supervisor Octávio Mateus had revealed a new species.