A FEROCIOUS, meat-eating dinosaur, so enormous it makes the T Rex look like a light snack, has been discovered on Dorset’s famous Jurassic Coast.

So far, only the fossilised skull and jawbone of the 150-million-year-old pliosaur have been unearthed, but seeing as those measure 2.4m long (the same as your average car), boffins are already calculating the entire beast could be 16m (about the length of a railway carriage).

That makes it the biggest example of the species ever found, and beating the pants off two 15m skeletons uncovered in Svalbad, Norway in March this year.

The pliosaur was a type of Plesiosaur, the group of giant aquatic dinosaurs which dominated the seas.

It was a fearsome hunter, terrorising the ocean and feeding on the likes of the dolphinesque ichthyosaur and even fellow plesiosaurs, using razor-sharp teeth and powerful neck muscles to tear them apart.

The exact location of the sea monster is being kept secret, to avoid dino tourists rampaging all over the site, but Dorset County Council, which has bought the remains with Lottery cash, has confirmed it was found by a local collector who happened to be walking along the coast when a large piece of cliff came away, exposing the first clue that they were, literally, onto something big.

Richard Edmonds, Dorset County Council’s earth science manager for the Jurassic Coast, said: “This part of the coast is eroding rapidly, meaning fossils are constantly tumbling on to the beach. The collector spent the next four years coming back day after day, and has uncovered this absolutely incredible fossil. It was an amazing effort.”

This discovery follows a rich tradition of fossil finds – specifically plesiosaurs – in Dorset, widely recognised as the birthplace of palaentology after local lass, Mary Anning, uncovered the first complete skeleton in Lyme Regis in 1823.

When this new beast is finally unearthed and scrutinised it will be put on display in the Dorset County Museum.

According to plesiosaur expert Richard Forrest, one of the most exciting things about the find is the way in which the skull has been preserved.

“Pliosaur skulls are very big, but not that robust and you tend to find them crushed flat – completely ‘pancaked’,” he said.

“What is fantastic about this skull, is not only is it enormous, but it’s pretty much in 3D. You have this wonderful lower jaw and you can just see from the depth and thickness this was immensely strong. It could have taken a human in one gulp; in fact a T Rex would have been breakfast for it.”

Dr Edmonds believes the rest of the body still lies in the rock, but said: “The ground is dipping very steeply, and as it is such a huge specimen it will be buried beneath layer upon layer of rock, so we will have to wait patiently for next big landslide.”