A new apex predator has been found in Europe that was ten metres long! Torvosaurus gurneyi is Portugal’s answer to T. rex and lived in the Jurassic 150 million years ago. A lucky PhD student in Lisbon discovered this animal by studying bones that were misidentified as Torvosaurus tanneri, a related species that lived in North America’s Rocky Mountain region around the same time. The attributes that distinguish T. gurneyi from T. tanneri and the jaws and the tail vertebrae- the main one being that T. gurneyi had fewer teeth on the upper jaw.
This megalosaur was named after palaeo-illustrator James Gurney and weighed roughly 4 to 5 tons. Strangely enough, megalosaurs are now thought to have‘fuzz’ over their skin; difficult to imagine a giant scary, yet fluffy predator. This giant creature had bigger arms than the famous T. rex, along with thick legs and elongated skull that allowed for a devastating bite. It appears that it did not ambush its prey, but simply used brute strength to kill and disembowel the unlucky victims.
Its claim to fame is that Torvosaurus gurneyi is Europe’s largest known land predator. It was probably so big simply because it lived in an all you can eat buffet environment of sauropods and stegosaurs.
Christophe Hendrickx, the main author of the paper said: “The teeth of the T. rex are more banana-shaped, while these are narrower, more blade-shaped.” Its large size is strange seen as, at the time, Europe was an archipelago, so only small animals have been previously found. Maybe it was this closed off environment that allowed Torvosaurus gurneyi to survive and thrive.