Spinosaurus Predatory Feeding Behavior

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Spinosaurus is considered to be carnivorous, more specifically, piscivorous or a piscivore. These conclusions are based upon comparisons of their jaws with that of modern crocodilians.


Click to enlarge… © Todd Marshall

Fossil evidence suggests that Spinosaurus fed on fish as well as a variety of other small to medium-sized animals, including small dinosaurs. Baryonyx, a close relative of Spinosaurus, was found with fish scales and the digested bones of a young Iguanodon in its stomach cavity, and there is one documented example of a spinosaurid having eaten a pterosaur. Much like today’s crocodile, the spinosaur was a generalist and opportunistic feeder specializing in meals comprised of smaller prey of any kind, including fish.

Now, this is where this post gets interesting,… An Internet search of “Spinosaurus” will yield many results entitled, “Spinosaurus, The Largest Carnosaur” which appears to not be true. Carnosaurs - Greek for “meat-eating lizards” - are characterized by several features, mostly modifications of the pelvis and hind legs (possibly adaptations evolved along with their increased size). For example, the carnosaurian femur is larger than the tibia. Also characteristic of the Carnosauria are large orbits and a generally long, narrow skull. Most of the skeletons of the large theropod carnosaurs exhibit different characteristics and builds than that of spinosaurids. This has resulted in many palenotologists removing Spinosaurus from the ranks of Carnosauria.


Click to enlarge… © Maurilio Oliveira

Let’s split some more hairs,… carnivorous is defined as, “subsisting or feeding on animal tissues…” whereas a carnivore is defined as, “any of an order (Carnivora) of typically flesh-eating mammals…”. Spinosaurus was hardly a mammal. This all being said, it is generally accepted that Spinosaurus was the largest of all known carnivorous dinosaurs. Additionally, being that the spinosaur hunted its prey, it is considered to be the largest known predatory dinosaur.

 

- A work in progress…
Last modified: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 17:48:37 EST -0500 (GMT)

Spinosaurus Comparison Video

A quick video depicting the relative sizes and gaits of Spinosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex.

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