Like the T-Rex, it stood on two legs, but lived a few million years before the famous predator. Researchers have just identified the “Minden monster”, a formidable predator, but also the largest carnivorous dinosaur ever discovered in Germany.
Its genus was previously unknown, but it appears to have undergone rapid diversification during the Middle Jurassic, around 160 million years ago. The « Minden monster » is not only the first carnivorous dinosaur from this period to be unearthed in Germany, but it is also the largest ever unearthed in the country. Which calls into question the spread and development of the large groups of carnivores that we knew before, and which came only from China or North America.
The specimen discovered here measured between 8 and 10 meters in length, weighing around two tonnes – but it was, according to the researchers, probably not fully developed at the time of its death. The fossilized bones and teeth were discovered in 1999 during a routine inspection in a disused quarry in the Wiehengebirge, a mid-mountain massif, located on the borders of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. The fossilized remains were recently re-examined by paleontologists Tom Huebner and Klaus-Peter Lanser, in collaboration with Oliver Rauhut of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.
Among the fossils were found a maxillary bone, an incisor bone, two caudal vertebrae, ribs and teeth of exceptional size, with a root length measured at nearly 30 centimeters. All remains were embedded in marine sediments. But it is known, however, that in the Middle Jurassic large areas of what is now central Europe lay below sea level, and that the shallow waters of this sea were dotted with he is.
These islands therefore seem to have been the refuge of a wide range of carnivorous dinosaurs, some of which reached very large sizes. We know that most of them belonged to the group known as Megalosaurus, which is the first large carnivorous dinosaur that we know of. The tyrannosaurus will only appear 80 million years later.