- Education and Science»
- Life Sciences»
- Prehistoric Life
Spinosaurus aegyptiacus is the largest predatory dinosaur discovered so far. It was bigger than the infamous T-rex, and even is depicted killing one in the 2001 film Jurassic Park 3. Spinosaurus remains have been found in Egypt and Morocco. It was 45 to 60 feet long from nose to the tip of it's tail, 18 feet high, and may have weighed 10-20 tons. Spinosaurus also sported 5-6 foot long spines on it's back. It is believed that these spines had a thin layer of skin and blood vessels between them. Possible uses for such an organ were, thermoregulation, sexual display, and species identification. Some paleontologists have even suggested the sail could have been muscular and aided Spinosaurus in swimming.
Discovery and namings
Two species of Spinosaurus have been named: Spinosaurus aegyptiacus and Spinosaurus maroccanus. The first described fossils of Spinosaurus were discovered and characterized in the early 20th century. In 1912, Richard Markgraf found an incomplete skeleton of the dinosaur in the Bahariya Formation of what is now western Egypt. In 1915, German paleontologist Ernst Stromer produced an article classifying the specimen to a new genus and species Spinosaurus aegyptiacus. The original specimen was destroyed in World War II during the 1944 British bombing of Munich which took place on the night of April 24/25. The raid damaged the building housing the Paläontologische Staatssammlung München (Bavarian State Collection of Paleontology). However, detailed drawings and descriptions of the specimen remained and in 1995 Stromer's son donated these drawing and schematics to the museum. From these drawings and recent discoveries by American paleontologist Paul Sereno and Nizar Ibrahim of The University of Chicago, we now have a more accurate picture of how this strange theropod may have looked and behaved.
Anatomy, lifestyle, and environment
Spinosaurus and it's relatives had many unique features that set them apart from other theropods. One of these was it's skull and jaw which was long and narrow like that of a modern crocodiles. It had numerous pits in it's snout, just like many crocodilians. It also had teeth that were conical like a crocodile which are ideal for catching and holding onto slippery prey like fish. With these adaptions it is likely that Spinosaurus spent most of it's time by rivers and streams and used the pits in it's snout to detect the motion of passing fish like most crocodilians do today. During the middle cretaceous, when Spinosaurus was alive there would have been many wetlands and swamps in North Africa and Spinosaurus would have been exploiting this. It probably lived very much like the Nile crocodile of Africa today. New discoveries in 2014 by a team lead by Nizar Ibrahim, a paleontologist from the University of Chicago, reveals that Spinosaurus was much more adapted for an aquatic lifestyle than previously thought. The new bones show that the creature had short hind legs and may have been quadrupedal; if true it would be the first theropod found with these unique traits. Dr. Ibrahim said, "It is a really bizarre dinosaur - there's no real blueprint for it. "It has a long neck, a long trunk, a long tail, a 7ft (2m) sail on its back and a snout like a crocodile, and when we look at the body proportions, the animal was clearly not as agile on land as other dinosaurs were, so I think it spent a substantial amount of time in the water." Spinosaurus was absolutely large enough to tackle any of the other herbivorous dinosaurs in it's environment such as Oranosaurus, and Nigersaurus although now there is speculation that it only ate large sawfish called Onchopristis. Spinosaurus also had competition from other large theropods such as Carcharodontosaurus, Rugops, and Deltadromeus, however given Spinosaurus awkward body plan it may have been more cautious than other predators.
Spinosaurus as seen in Planet Dinosaur
Appearances in pop culture
Spinosaurus has been made a pop culture icon recently in the 2001 movie Jurassic park 3 as the killer of the T-Rex. The dinosaur has also made appearances in several documentaries including BBC's Planet Dinosaur, Discovery's Monsters Resurrected, and National Geographic's Bizarre Dinosaurs. Spinosaurus was also featured in the video games Warpath: Jurassic Park for PS1, Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis for the PS2, and the most powerful boss in Jurassic: The Hunted for Xbox 360 and PS3. It is also featured on postage stamps in Angola, The Gambia, and Tanzania.
Spinosaurus - About.com Dinosaurs
- Spinosaurus - About.com Dinosaurs
This huge carnivorous dinosaur had a sail on its back.
- Spinosaurus Dinosaurs,egyptian spinasarus,fact,images,Jurassic park encyclopedia,sail facts,rare,jok
Spinosaurus aegyptiacus is a theropod dinosaur genus from the Albian to early Cenomanian stages of the Cretaceous time, about 95 to 93 million years ago. Its distinctions comprise being the biggest meat-eating of all dinosaurs, rivaling even Tyranno
Spinosaurus enchanted learning
- Spinosaurus Fact Sheet - EnchantedLearning.com
Spinosaurus Fact Sheet. Spinosaurus was a huge meat-eating dinosaur that lived in what is now Africa.
Spinosaurus at science blogs
- Was Spinosaurus really the biggest predatory dinosaur? : Laelaps
After the success of The Lost World: Jurassic Park, the minds behind the franchise were in a bit of a fix. Tyrannosaurus and "Velociraptor"* had the run of the fictional islands for the past two movies; something new was needed...