The dinosaur stood on its hind legs and caught prey with its hands.
Fossil fragments found in Spain point to a new type of dinosaur, researchers say.
Scientists have proposed a new species of spinosaurid after examining a specimen consisting of a right jaw bone, one tooth and five vertebrae discovered in the Arsillas de Morella Formation in Castellón, Spain in 2011. Scientific reports Thursday.
Spinosaurids are often characterized by their large bodies, which stand on two legs. A group of dinosaurs including Spinosaurus and Baronyx were also generally carnivorous.
The fossils date to the Barremian or Early Cretaceous period between 127 million and 126 million years ago, the authors said. Based on the remains, researchers believe the dinosaur was between 10 meters and 11 meters, or about 32 feet to 36 feet.
After comparing the specimen to other spinosaurids, the researchers determined it to be a new genus and species of spinosaurid, naming it Protathlidis cinctorensis, the Greek for protoathlidis meaning “champion” and “cinctorensis” after the city, Cinctorus. According to the study, fossils were found.
The name “Champion” refers to the UEFA Europa League title won by European soccer club Villarreal CF in 2021 and to celebrate the club’s 100th anniversary in 2023, lead researcher José Santos‑Cubedo told ABC News.
Protathlidis synchronensis also had a long snout equipped with many conical teeth and used their hands to grab prey, Santos-Cupedo said.
The discovery suggests that the Iberian Peninsula may have been a diverse area for medium- to large-bodied spinosaurid dinosaurs, shedding further light on the origin and evolution of the dinosaur genus.
Spinosaurids are believed to have originated in Europe and then migrated from Africa to Asia. Evidence of their presence in Spain is mostly based on fossilized dental remains.
The researchers believe the new species originated during the Early Cretaceous in Laurasia — a large landmass in the northern European hemisphere — with two subspecies occupying western Europe, according to the paper.
Spinosaurids may have later migrated to Africa and Asia, where they diversified.
“In Europe, baryonychaines predominated, while in Africa, spinocerines predominated,” Santos-Cupedo said.