The spinosaurid, which lived about 125 million years ago, is believed to have been more than 10 meters (about 33 feet) long and weighed several tons, according to a statement announcing the findings.
The spinosaurid remains belong to what is likely a new species, Christopher Barker, a PhD student in vertebrate paleontology at the University of Southampton who led the study, told CNN via email Thursday.
“It’s probably a new species, but we can’t name it based on the material we have,” Barker said.
Prehistoric bones of the spinosaurid have been found in a geological layer of rock known as the Vectis formation in Compton Chine, on the southwest coast of the Isle of Wight, Barker added.
“Compton Bay is a famous site for dinosaur fossils on the Isle of Wight. Most of them come from the ancient Wessex Formation, which teamed with dinosaurs,” Barker said. “Our spinosaurs indeed come from the Vectis formation, and bones (dinosaurs or otherwise) are rare in this formation (which is made up of several rock layers).”
He added that it “is significant in that (it) is the first identifiable theropod from the Vectis Formation”.
Therapods are a group of dinosaurs that includes Tyrannosaurus rex and the velociraptors made famous by the Jurassic Park film franchise. The newly discovered dinosaur would have been bigger than a double-decker bus, Barker said.
Marks on the fossilized bones reveal how scavengers and decomposers, organisms that break down decaying matter, likely fed on the carcass.
Researchers will attempt to study thin sections of the same specimen so they can examine the microscopic internal properties of the bones in the near future, which could reveal details about its growth rate and approximate age.
When asked if the spinosaurid is Europe’s largest predator, Barker said: “Some of the bones exceed those of the previous ‘largest in Europe’, so in that sense it is. However , we would ideally want complete skeletons of all of Europe’s top predators to be precise.”
In September, researchers discovered spinosaurid remains on a beach on the Isle of Wight dating back to the Lower Cretaceous period 125 million years ago. The species was unknown at the time.
The study was published Thursday in the scientific journal Peer J.