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a meat-eating megalosaurid theropod dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of North America and Portugal.
Pronunciation: TOR-vo-SOR-us
Meaning: Savage lizard
Author/s: Galton and Jensen (1979)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Colorado, USA
Chart Position: 221

Torvosaurus tanneri

If the parts of Torvosaurus that are missing are of typical megalosaurid-proportion compared to the parts that aren't, it may have been one of the largest genus-certain Jurassic theropods ever known. It lived at the opposite end of the Morrison Formation to Allosaurus (and its possible synonym Saurophaganax) which bodes well for the "one super predator per eco system" theory. But if, somehow, at some point, their paths crossed who would be the daddy?

Judging by the fossils in hand, Torvosaurus was heavily built with amazingly powerful arms, and "moustache bones" (maxilla) found in Portugal, if we implement a like for like body part upscale based on the American version, would make its skull almost five and a half feet long! This colossal noggin would have put the European Torvosaurus on a par with Tyrannosaurus rex and if this is the standard size of all full grown adults of this species it could have smacked around anything from Western U.S.A. But alas, these remains were downsized to a more modest size in 2014 as they became a second species of Torvosaurus Torvosaurus gurneyi. Though at an estimated length of 10 meters and a couple of tons in weight it's still the largest theropod dinosaur known from Europe.

Some believe that this particular Savage lizard may have a couple of synonyms-in-waiting floating around the megalosaurid family tree in the form of middle Morrison contemporaries Edmarka rex and "Brontoraptor" — the unofficial but catchy "Thunder plunderer", but may have bona fide fossils hidden away in museum collections, unbeknownst to their curators.

Remains that were discovered by Elmer Riggs way back in 1899 and stored undescribed at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History were officially assigned to Torvosaurus in 2014 by Michael Hanson and Peter Makovicky, who suspect other Torvosaurus material may lay unprepared in such institutions. Also, a partial skeleton discovered in Westphalia, Germany, and nicknamed "the Monster of Minden" (Das Monster von Minden) but currently undescribed may turn out to be a Torvosaurus-like megalosaurid, if not a specimen of Torvosaurus itself.
(Tanner's savage lizard)Etymology
Torvosaurus is derived from the Latin "torvus" (savage) and the Greek "sauros" (lizard), named for its carnivorous nature and large size.
The species epithet, tanneri, is named in honor of N. Eldon Tanner (Nathan Eldon Tanner), first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We have no idea why.
The species epithet, gurneyi, honors paleoartist James Gurney.
The first fossils of Torvosaurus tanneri were discovered at Dry Mesa Quarry in the Brushy Basin Member of Colorado's Morrison Formation by James A. Jensen and Kenneth Stadtman in 1972. The holotype (BYU 2002) includes an upper arm bone (humerus) and lower arm bones (radius and ulna). Additional material includes some skull bones, back bones, hip bones and 'hand' bones.
The first fossils of Torvosaurus gurneyi were found in the Porto Novo-Amoreira Member of the Lourinhã Formation, Cliffs of Praia da Vermelha, Lourinhã , Portugal. The holotype (ML 1100) is an incomplete left maxilla (tooth-bearing bone of the upper jaw) with one protruding tooth.
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Jurassic
Stage: Kimmeridgian
Age range: 156-151 mya
Est. max. length: 11 meters
Est. max. hip height: 3 meters
Est. max. weight: 2.2 tons
Diet: Carnivore
• P.M. Galton and J.A. Jensen (July 1979) "A new large theropod dinosaur from the Upper Jurassic of Colorado". Brigham Young University Geology Studies: Volume 26, Part 2.
• Gregory S. Paul (1988) "Predatory Dinosaurs of the World".
• Octavio Mateus, Aart Walen, and Miguel Telles Antunes (2006) "The large theropod fauna of the Lourinha formation of Portugal and its similarities to the Morrison, with a description of a new species of Allosaurus".
• Christophe Hendrick and Octávio Mateus (2014) "Torvosaurus gurneyi n. sp., the Largest Terrestrial Predator from Europe, and a Proposed Terminology of the Maxilla Anatomy in Nonavian Theropods".
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "TORVOSAURUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 19th Jan 2018.