Meet the largest carnivorous dinosaur ever found in Germany, a two-ton monster with huge teeth that's just been deemed its own genus and species.
Writing in the journal Palaeontologia Electronica, researchers from Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) in Munich discuss their analysis of fossilized bones and teeth of an enormous dinosaur from some 160 million years ago -- a meat-eating beast known to paleontologists as the "Monster of Minden" that they've named Wiehenvenator albati.
W. albati was a megalosaurid -- the earliest known group of large carnivores -- that weighed a bit more than 2 tons and was about 26 to 33 feet (8 to 10 meters) long. It stood on its hind legs, had shortened forelimbs and, according to a release from the scientists, had "teeth as big as bananas" that curved inward toward the pharynx.
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The well-preserved bones were unearthed from the hills of a former quarry in northwestern Germany's Wiehengebirge mountain range, south of Minden. According to the researchers, the dinosaur likely lived on islands in shallow waters surrounding what is today central Europe.
A wide range of often large carnivorous dinosaurs lived on the islands. "Moreover, most of them belonged to the group known as the megalosaurids," said study co-author Oliver Rauhut, a paleontologist at LMU, in a statement.
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The team says its analysis safely places W. albati as a new megalosaurid theropod, from the same broad group as Tyrannosaurus rex, during a time in the fossil record when a vast array of new species were arriving on the scene.
"Practically all the major groups of predatory dinosaurs originated during this period, including tyrannosaurs (which, however, only gave rise to their really gigantic representatives some 80 million years later) and the first direct ancestors of the birds," said Rauhut.
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