Saturday, 13 February 2021


This toothy fellow is Torvosaurus tanneri and he hails from Late Jurassic outcrops in the Carnegie Quarry at Dinosaur National Monument, Morrison Formation, western United States — where we have found a single bone, his humerus telling us about his mighty size. 

The specimen you see here is currently on display at the Museo Nacional De Ciencias Naturales in Madrid, Spain.

Torvosaurus were one of the largest and most robust carnivores of the Jurassic. 

These "savage lizards," were true to their name. They were skilled bipedal hunters who weighed over two tons. They had powerful dentition, large, sharp teeth and strong claws on their forelegs — ferocious predators of the Upper Jurassic. He would have roamed alongside the mighty Camarasaurus, Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, Stegosaurus and Allosaurus.

Palaeontologist Earl Douglass, 1909
Fossil specimens of Torvosaurus have been found in the Lourinha Formation near Lisbon, Portugal. Here, he would have towered over the smaller Allosaurus of the region who were just over eight metres or 27 feet on average, while he towered at over ten metres or 35 feet. 

This was not the case for the Allosaurus — famed brontosaur hunters — who roamed the fern-covered floodplains of the Jurassic west and what would one day become the United States. Here they grew massive, passing twelve metres or 40 feet in length and towering over the local Tovosaurus. Allosaurus had a large bite, their jaws opening up very wide, making them capable of taking very big bites and positioning them as the top carnivores of the Late Jurassic.

Still, both of these hunters had to contend with Sauophaganax, the largest Jurassic theropod at a whopping twelve to thirteen metres — making it the largest Allosaurus and maybe even a wee bit larger than the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex roaming around western North America back when it was the island continent of Laramidia. This would have been fearsome land to roam as the juvenile of any species as all of these brutes would have the skill, speed and teeth to take you down. 

Photo One: Tovosaurus tannerion display at the Museo Nacional De Ciencias Naturales in Madrid, Spain.

Photo Two: Palaeontologist Earl Douglass digging up the remains of a Brontosaurus at the Carnegie Quarry, 1909. To learn more about this fossil site, visit: