Real King of Jurassic Park by Thomas Hammann
by Thomas Hammann
The biggest theropod of the Jurassic might have lived in the region which is now known as northern Germany. Last autumn scientists have found remains of the gigantic animal in a closed quarry near the town Minden. The discovered fragments point to a meat-eating dinosaur which could has even rivaled famous Tyrannosaurus rex in size.
\"It\'s a new species, that\'s for sure\", says Klaus-Peter Lanser, paleontologist of the natural history museum in Münster, where the fossils are in preparation. His team has found several teeth, bonefragments, tail-vertebras, ribs, a calf bone and pieces of the skull and the lower jaw till now. Lanser has already compared the pieces with parts of a specimen of Allosaurus fragilis - so far one of the biggest predators of the Jurassic.
\"We found several similarities, but the remains of the new species are about a third bigger!\" The new theropod is estimated at a total length of likely over 12 meters. Some of the blade-like, serrated teeth are 18 cm in length - maybe also an indication that the complete animal has grown up to the size-range of the biggest predatory dinosaurs ever lived on earth, known as Tyrannosaurus rex, Giganotosaurus carolinii and Carcharodontosaurus saharicus, which all have lived in the Cretaceous.
\"The new find was made in mid-Jurassic layers. So it\'s much older than the other species\", declares Lanser, who hopes to find more of it within the next months. \"We will dig as long as there is a realistic chance to discover more.\" In the next year Lanser wants to present a scientifically paper to the public. Till then there are still some mysteries to solve. For example: How came the land-living giant in his marine grave?
All parts of the new dinosaur were embedded within marine sediments - there were even marine lizards found at some places nearby. Nevertheless the partial skeleton is not the only proof of giant meat- eating dinosaurs on the Jurassic islands, which formed today\'s Germany. Since many years foot-prints of a big theropod, called Megalosaurus teutonicus, are known from a site at Barkhausen.
So there are more and more indications that ancient Germany had been a real \"Jurassic park\" - it\'s king has been already found.