Eustreptospondylus is a megalosaurid theropod dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of the United Kingdom. It was officially named in 1964 by Alick Donald Walker. Since its discovery, it has gotten rid of the extremely old theory that dinosaurs were dragon-like, swamp-dwelling beasts, and it was thought to be a species of Megalosaurus before finally being described as its own genus.
Eustreptospondylus was a theropod with a slender body, a long tail, moderately-sized arms with 3 fingers on each hand, and a large head with a mouth containing lots of big teeth. Its body would have been covered in scaly skin.
Eustreptospondylus was a predator, preying on mid-sized sauropods, small pterosaurs, and smaller theropods. Its teeth had knife-like serrations from front to back, and were used to cut into the hides of large prey.
Like its cousin, Megalosaurus, Eustreptospondylus would have been a beach-comber, walking onto the shorelines to scavenge marine reptile carcasses and eat any small animals moving about. The first Eustreptospondylus fossil came from what used to be a small island; this may lead people to believe that it was a good swimmer, and could swim from island to island, much like a Komodo dragon. However, not everyone agrees with this, and some scientists have an alternate explanation for this; this explanation states that the theropod might have just died before being swept out into the ocean. As well as this, many people think that Eustreptospondylus was a very small megalosaur that was subject to insular dwarfism; however, this theory has arisen because the fact that the first specimen discovered was supposed to be a subadult was frequently overlooked.
In popular culture
Eustreptospondylus was featured in the 3rd episode of the 1999 documentary Walking with Dinosaurs, where it is shown as a beach-combing theropod that regularly scavenges carcasses on the beach, but is not afraid to eat live prey; as well as this, it was accurately-sized for once. At the end of the episode, a whole pack of the theropods feast on a(n egregiously oversized) Liopleurodon that due to having been tossed ashore by a violent storm and suffocating on land.