Spinosaurus Facts Overview

Spinosaurus Skeleton

Spinosaurus (pronounced: SPINE-oh-SORE-us), which means “spine lizard, spiny lizard or thorn lizard”, is the largest predatory dinosaur known to man, measuring 55 feet (17 meters) from nose to tail and weighing in at approximately 12 tons. Spinosaurus lived in the Cretaceous period, around 95 million years ago in an area that is now known as Egypt in northern Africa.

Until just a few years ago, scientists had believed that Tyrannosaurus Rex was the largest predatory dinosaur with the largest fossil specimen measuring 42 feet (13 meters) long. Tyrannosaurus Rex is believed to have weighed about 6.5 tons when it roamed Earth 67 million years ago. Gigantosaurus, another of the largest meat-eaters measured 45 feet (14 meters) in length and weighed approximately 8 tons.

Spinosaurus was a theropod which is a dinosaur that stood on two legs. Tyrannosaurus Rex and Gigantosaurus were also theropods. Spinosaurus utilized bipedal locomotion meaning that he moved about on his two hind legs.

Spinosaurus was first discovered in 1912 by German paleontologist Ernst Stromer while conducting a dig in Egypt. This original specimen, thought to be that of a subadult, was destroyed during World War II although the original detailed drawings and descriptions still remain.

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Last modified: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 12:35:26 EST -0500 (GMT)

Did Spinosaurus Swim?

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Did Spinosaurus dive into water to seek its prey or lay in wait by the shore awaiting a meal of opportunity? New findings into Spinosaurus’ habitat have made the prospect of a swimming spinosaur even more intersting.

Click to enlarge… © tinbutti

Paleontologists from the University of Pennslyvania have found clues in Egypt giving information about spinosaurus’ habitat. It is believed that the Bayharia Oasis which was where the orginal spinosaur fossils were found, was once a Mangroove swamp. This swamp would have been similar to the Florida Everglades of today.

Click to enlarge… © Luis Rey

Spinosaurs fed on fish and was probably in the mangroove waters eating coelacanth and sharks. The long narrow snout of Spinosaurus contained jaws full of sharply pointed teeth. Spinosaur teeth were smooth, round, and resembled the bite of crocodiles, where the upper teeth of the Spinosaurus interlock with the lower teeth. In addition, Spinosaurus had nostrils that faced upwards. A very useful adaptation for swimming and hunting fish , much like the nostrils in Crocodilians. Like the American Crocodile, Spinosaurus may have also ventured out into the ocean to catch prey.

There are reports and suggestions that Spinosaurus also fed on juvenile dinosaurs such as pterosaurs and Iguandon, but most agree that its staple food source came from the water.

Many hypothesize that the sail was a means by which to radiate heat, whereas I can envision just the opposite. I picture Spinosaurus silently floating on the surface of a body of water using its forelimbs as a stabilizing mechanism while utilizing its sail as a solar collector maintaining body temperature as it waits for prey.

Click to enlarge… © paleoguy60


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Last modified: Friday, November 13, 2009 23:43:36 EST -0500 (GMT)

Scientific Classification Of Spinosaurus

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Superfamily: Megalosauroidea
Family: Spinosauridae
Genus: Spinosaurus
Species: Spinosaurus aegyptiacus