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Torvosaurus gurneyi, Europe's biggest theropod

From: Ben Creisler

New in PLoS ONE:

Christophe Hendrickx & Octávio Mateus (2014)
Torvosaurus gurneyi n. sp., the Largest Terrestrial Predator from
Europe, and a Proposed Terminology of the Maxilla Anatomy in Nonavian
PLoS ONE 9(3): e88905.

The Lourinhã Formation (Kimmeridgian-Tithonian) of Central West
Portugal is well known for its diversified dinosaur fauna similar to
that of the Morrison Formation of North America; both areas share
dinosaur taxa including the top predator Torvosaurus, reported in
Portugal. The material assigned to the Portuguese T. tanneri,
consisting of a right maxilla and an incomplete caudal centrum, was
briefly described in the literature and a thorough description of
these bones is here given for the first time. A comparison with
material referred to Torvosaurus tanneri allows us to highlight some
important differences justifying the creation of a distinct Eastern
species. Torvosaurus gurneyi n. sp. displays two autapomorphies among
Megalosauroidea, a maxilla possessing fewer than eleven teeth and an
interdental wall nearly coincidental with the lateral wall of the
maxillary body. In addition, it differs from T. tanneri by a reduced
number of maxillary teeth, the absence of interdental plates
terminating ventrally by broad V-shaped points and falling short
relative to the lateral maxillary wall, and the absence of a
protuberant ridge on the anterior part of the medial shelf, posterior
to the anteromedial process. T. gurneyi is the largest theropod from
the Lourinhã Formation of Portugal and the largest land predator
discovered in Europe hitherto. This taxon supports the mechanism of
vicariance that occurred in the Iberian Meseta during the Late
Jurassic when the proto-Atlantic was already well formed. A fragment
of maxilla from the Lourinhã Formation referred to Torvosaurus sp. is
ascribed to this new species, and several other bones, including a
femur, a tibia and embryonic material all from the
Kimmeridgian-Tithonian of Portugal, are tentatively assigned to T.
gurneyi. A standard terminology and notation of the theropod maxilla
is also proposed and a record of the Torvosaurus material from
Portugal is given.