A new carnivorous, medium-sized theropod dinosaur, named Vallibonavenatrix Cani, has been discovered based on fossils from the shelves of a private museum in Sant Mateu, near the Spanish city of Valencia.
Juan Cano, who discovered the fossils and runs the museum, showed off his collection on Friday, after the discovery of the new species was published in the journal 'Cretaceous Research' on Monday.
"My oldest son, Juan Victor Cano, saw a bright flash and that caught my attention, I told him to look at it well. He went there and said "Dad! It's a piece of rib! It was a rib in a fantastic state of preservation, it looked like glass," recounted Cano, describing the discovery of the fossils near the town of Vallibona.
The dinosaur, which inhabited the region some 125 million years ago, is the first spinosaurid to be discovered in the Iberian peninsula. The spinosaurids were a group of large two-legged carnivores and possessed long crocodile like skulls, with many thought to survive largely off of fish.
"Vallibonavenatrix means 'huntress of the Vallibona', we wanted to make a wink since they (dinosaurs) are always described with male names and we have preferred in this case to be a female name," explained palaeontologist and excavation director Jose Miguel Gasulla.
The remains, the first ones found as early as the 1990s, had been wrongly identified as a different species, but suspicions it could be a new type of spinosaurid theropod led to more in-depth analysis and finally the identification that it was a new species.