New species of dinosaur ‘discovered’ in Cabo Espichel

A ‘new’ species of predatory dinosaur, able to grow serrated teeth whenever others broke, has been ‘discovered’ in Cabo Espichel, in the borough of Sesimbra.

The Iberospinus natarioi was a species of spinosaurid, a predatory dinosaur known for their long jaws.

This one is believed to have been about 8-metres long when fully-grown. Scientists think it would have waded in water “waiting to ambush fish and other aquatic prey”, explains an article in the New Scientist.

The team who discovered Iberospinus natarioi did so on the back of two previous ‘finds’, separated by more than 20 years.

The New Scientist explains: the first bones and teeth were discovered by an amateur collector (Carlos Natário), and expert opinion at the time believed them to belong to an already-identified spinosaurid, known as Baryonyx walkeri.

“But in 2019, a different team of scientists studying the fossils noticed that the bottom edge of the lower jaw seemed too flat for Baryonyx”…and then an excavation in 2020 brought up ‘additional fossil bones’, which also didn’t fit with the previous picture. 

This is where two new scientists, Dario Estraviz-López (New University of Lisbon) and colleague Octávio Mateus at Lourinhã (dinosaur) Museum got to work. The pair re-examined all the fossils and concluded finally that they had a new dino on their hands – one that was better designed somehow to grip prey with its mouth, blessed with a “unique pattern of nearly constant tooth eruption”.

Said Estráviz-López: “In some tooth sockets, they had two replacement teeth [in development next to the one currently in use]… This means they were shedding their teeth really, really quickly.”

The discovery also shows that Portugal really did have a “great diversity” of dinosaurs all those hundreds of millions of years ago.

This new addition to palaeontology, believed to date back 130 million years, has been named after the amateur archaeologist who first discovered its fossils.

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