STL Science Center

STL Science Center

19 July 2013

From Colorado to Portugal

©Davide Bonadonna
First and foremost, many thanks to my sister Anna for taking over last week while I was in the field helping a colleague trap mice and avoid rattlesnakes. If you did not notice a difference, that means she did a fantastic job, right? Kudos to the author and artist to be!

This week I have a monster of a dinosaur for us. Obviously, in sticking with my typical rotation, we are going to look at a predator this week, and not just any predator, but one that has been discovered in both Colorado and Portugal in varying stages of life including as an egg and is a fearsome predator of the late Jurassic. Larger than most of its contemporaries, including most Allosaurus individuals, Torvosaurus tanneri was a forced to be reckoned with. Three clawed hands and massive jaws were supported by a robust torso and well muscled and strong legs in this megalosaur. This "savage lizard" was between 30 and 26ft (9 and 11m) long and probably weighed nearly 2.2 tons (2 metric tons). The Portuguese specimen is the largest discovered meaning that the eastern counterparts of the Colorado specimens were either slightly larger overall or that the Colorado specimen may be a younger individual than the Portugal specimen. The Portuguese Torvosaurus rivals T. rex's skull and is much larger than any other Jurassic age predator while the Colorado material is slightly smaller than Allosaurus/Saurophaganax and another animal known as Edmarka (which may be synonymous with Torvosaurus).

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