Theropods like Tyrannosaurus, Giganotosaurus, and Carcharodontosaurus are other huge predators equivalent to Spinosaurus in size. It is the longest-known terrestrial carnivore. The most current research reveals that earlier body size estimations are inaccurate and that S. aegyptiacus attained a length of 14 meters and a body mass of 7.4 tons. Like a modern crocodilian, Spinosaurus had a long, low, thin cranium containing straight conical spinosaurus teeth without serrations. Large, strong forelimbs with three-fingered hands and an expanded claw on the first digit would have been present.
Although some authors have proposed that the spines were covered in fat & formed a hump, the distinctive neural spines of Spinosaurus were long extensions of the vertebrae (or backbones) that grew to a minimum length of 1.65 meters (5.4 ft). Skin likely connected the spines, forming a sail-like structure. Spinosaurus had smaller hip bones, and its legs were short in relation to its body. Tall, thin neural spines and lengthened chevrons enhanced the tail’s long, narrow shape, giving it the appearance of a flexible paddle or fin.
Discovery Of Spinosaurus!
The names of two different Spinosaurus species have been given: Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, Egyptian spine lizard, and the contentious Spinosaurus maroccanus. Early in the 20th century, Spinosaurus’s first known remains were discovered and characterized. Richard Markgraf found a piece of a massive theropod dinosaur’s fragmentary skeleton in the Bahariya Formation of Western Egypt in 1912.
In 1915, German paleontologist Ernst Stromer released an essay designating Spinosaurus aegyptiacus as the new genus and species for the specimen. If you want to own a piece of paleontological history, there are even Spinosaurus fossils for sale. Moving forward to 1934, Stromer took another step by naming Spinosaurus B. This new classification was based on fragmentary additional Bahariya remains encompassing vertebrae and bones from the hind limbs. Stromer’s conviction in their distinctiveness as a new species has been confirmed through subsequent research.
How It Got Its Name?
Dale Russell first identified S. maroccanus as a new species in 1996 based on the length of its neck vertebrae. According to Russell, the length of the centrum (body of the vertebra) to the height of the posterior articular part was 1.1 in S. aegyptiacus & 1.5 in S. maroccanus. Later authors have presented both sides of this debate. Each person has a unique set of vertebrae that can be different lengths. The holotype specimen was destroyed.
It is unclear which cervical vertebrae the S. maroccanus specimens represent; therefore, they cannot be directly compared to it. These are only a handful of the arguments put up by various writers. Because of this, most experts consider S. maroccanus a nomen dubium\a junior synonym of S. aegyptiacus, even if some have preserved the species as legitimate without much remark.
Learn About The Specimens Of Spinosaurus!
Spinosaurus has six main fragmentary specimens that have been reported. The holotype was BSP 1912 VIII 19, which Stromer first described from the Bahariya Formation in 1915. The material included the following incomplete components: two cervical vertebrae, seven dorsal vertebrae, three sacral vertebrae, one caudal vertebra, four thoracic ribs, and gastralia.
It was all from the lower jaw and measured 75 centimeters (30 in) in length. The longest neural spine, “I,” connected to a dorsal vertebra, was 1.65 meters in measurement out of the nine whose heights are listed. According to Stromer, the specimen dates back to the early Cenomanian, or 97 million years ago.
It was destroyed during World War II, notably during the nighttime of 24/25 April 1944 in a British bombing incursion on Munich that seriously damaged the structure holding.
The specimen still has extensive illustrations and descriptions, though. The Paläontologische Staatssammlung München received Stromer’s archives as a donation in 1995, and Smith and associates recently examined two images of the Spinosaurus holotype specimen BSP 1912 VIII 19, which was subsequently uncovered in the archives in 2000. Smith concluded that Stromer’s 1915 drawings were slightly off-base based on images of the lower jaw and the entire specimen when mounted.
What Was The Size Of Spinosaurus?
In a 2007 research utilizing scaling based on skull length, François Therrien and Donald Henderson questioned earlier estimates of the size of Spinosaurus, finding the length to be excessively large and the weight to be insufficient. In light of expected skull lengths of 1.5 to 1.75 meters, their projections incorporate a body length of 12.6 to 14.3 meters and a weight of 12 to 20.9 metric tons.
Lower gauges for Spinosaurus infer that it was smaller and lighter than Carcharodontosaurus and Giganotosaurus. The theropods used for comparison in the Therrien and Henderson study have drawn criticism, as has their supposition that the Spinosaurus head could have been as short as 1.5 meters.
In 2014, Ibrahim and his coworkers hypothesized that Spinosaurus aegyptiacus could grow to more than 15 meters. However, Paul Sereno and his colleagues hypothesized in 2022 that Spinosaurus aegyptiacus had a maximum body length of 14 meters and a maximum body mass of 7.4 metric tons by creating a CT-based 3D skeletal model with the axial cue in a neutral pose.
How Was The Skull Of Spinosaurus?
Its head was small, adorned with a snout abundant in straight, conical teeth devoid of serrations. For enthusiasts and collectors, you might even come across remarkable Spinosaurus teeth for sale. An impressive arrangement of six to seven teeth graced each side within the premaxillae, positioned at the forefront of the upper jaw. Complementing these, an additional twelve teeth resided in the maxillae, situated just behind.
Notably, the substantial teeth within the lower jaw intersected the gap between the maxilla’s expansive frontal teeth. Also of significance were the second and third teeth on either side of the premaxilla, conspicuously larger than other Spinosaurus teeth. The elongated snout, home to these formidable anterior teeth, projected outward while a minor crest accentuated the area preceding the eyes.
Postcranial Skeleton Of Spinosaurus
Spinosaurus would have had a long, muscular neck with an S-shaped, or sigmoid, curve if it had been a spinosaurid. It had broad shoulders and huge, stocky forelimbs with three clawed fingers on each hand. The largest would have been the first finger. The fact that Spinosaurus’s finger bones were lengthy & its claws were only slightly recurved suggests that its hands were longer than those of other spinosaurids. Spinosaurus’s sail comprised extremely tall neural spines that grew on the animal’s rear vertebrae. The neural spine lengths exceeded ten times the diameters of the vertebral bodies from which they were derived.
Phylogeny Of Spinosaurus
Sereno created the subfamily Spinosaurinae 1998, and Holtz and colleagues classified it as any taxa more closely related to Spinosaurus aegyptiacus than Baryonyx walkeri in 2004. Charig & Milner named the subfamily Baryonychinae in 1986. Before it was identified as a member of the Spinosauridae, it created the subfamily and family Baryonychidae for the recently found Baryonyx.
In 2004, Holtz and colleagues described their subfamily as the complimentary clade comprising all animals more closely related to Baryonyx walkeri than to Spinosaurus aegyptiacus. Based on their craniodental characteristics and cladistic analyses, Marcos Sales, Cesar Schultz, and colleagues (2017) found that the South American spinosaurids Angaturama, Irritator, & Oxalaia were transitional between Baronychinae and Spinosaurinae.
Paleobiology Of Spinosaurus
According to Gimsa and colleagues (2015), Spinosaurus’ dorsal sail was similar to the sailfish’s dorsal fins and had a hydrodynamic function. Gimsa and others note that whereas more primitive, long-legged spinosaurids had otherwise spherical or crescent-shaped dorsal sails, Spinosaurus’ dorsal neural spines took the form of a roughly rectangular structure that was comparable to the sailfish’s dorsal fins.
They contend that Spinosaurus utilized its dorsal neural sail like that of a sailfish and used its long, slender tail to stun prey like a modern thresher shark. Sailfish use their dorsal fins to herd schools of fish into a bait ball, where they work together to hold the fish in place so the sailfish can snag them with their bills.
The long tail of the Spinosaurus resembled that of the thresher shark, which was used to slap the water to herd & stun shoals of fish before consuming them. This characteristic of the dinosaur’s anatomy may have a current analog. When the shoal is first condensed into a bait ball, the tactics used by sailfish and thresher sharks against shoaling fish are more successful. Since this is challenging for lone predators to accomplish, they work together to make it happen. Sailfish also raise their sails to seem larger when herding a group of fish or squid.
How Was There Diet And Feeding?
The extended jaws, conical teeth, and elevated nostrils of Spinosaurus suggest that it was a piscivore, while it is uncertain if it was predominantly a terrestrial predator. A. J. Charig and A. C. Milner have previously claimed that Baryonyx’s spinosaurs were specialist fish eaters. It is inferred from the type specimen’s rib cage’s digestive acid-etched fish scales and its physical resemblance to crocodilians. Large fish have been identified in the Cretaceous faunas of northern Africa and Brazil, containing other spinosaurids, such as the Mawsonia.
Related European and South American taxa provide direct evidence for the spinosaur diet. In addition, a tooth found entrenched in a South American pterosaur bone points that spinosaurus occasionally preyed on pterosaurs. However, Spinosaurus was most likely a generalized and opportunistic predator, possibly the Cretaceous equivalent of large grizzly bears. It was biased toward fishing, though it undoubtedly scavenged and took many different kinds of small or medium-sized prey.
Learn About Their Aquatic Habit
Recent research on Spinosaurus tail vertebrae refutes Henderson’s assertion that the dinosaur lived mostly on land close to and in shallow water and was too buoyant to submerge. Spinosaurus possessed a keeled tail that was well adapted to propelling the animal through water, according to studies of the tail made possible by fossils discovered and examined by Ibrahim, Pierce, Lauder, and Sereno and colleagues in 2018. Spinosaurus’s lengthy neural spines and chevrons, which extend to the tail’s tip on both the dorsal and ventral sides, suggest that it could swim similarly to contemporary crocodilians.
The tail of Spinosaurus was discovered by Lauder and Pierce to have eight times as much forward thrust and to be twice as efficient at achieving forward push as the tails of terrestrial theropods like Coelophysis and Allosaurus. The finding suggests that Spinosaurus may have lived a lifestyle similar to that of contemporary alligators and crocodiles, hunting while submerged for extended periods.
Paleoenvironment Of Spinosaurus, In Brief
It might have turned to feeding on pterosaurs during the dry season. Similar conditions can be seen in the Late Jurassic Morrison Formation of North America, which contains numerous smaller genera and up to five theropod genera weighing more than one metric ton. The huge North African theropods’ body size and head shape variations may have been sufficient to enable niche partitioning, as seen by the wide variety of modern predator species in the African savanna.
Their Presence In Popular Culture
Although spinosaurids have been the subject of popular dinosaur books for a while, there has only lately been enough research to depict the Spinosaurus accurately. It has been regarded as a generalized upright theropod with a head similar to those of other giant theropods, a sail on its back, and even four-fingered hands since an influential 1955 skeletal reconstruction by Lapparent and Lavocat based on a 1936 diagram by Stromer. Spinosaurus has been portrayed in movies, action toys, video games, books, and stamps from nations including Tanzania, The Gambia, and Angola.
Some Quick Facts About Spinosaurus
Here are some cool facts to help you easily remember some important information regarding Spinosaurus. Explore them!
- The largest predator to ever roam the globe was the Spinosaurus. It was enormous, measuring 60 feet in length and weighing 9.9 tons. It is equivalent to around three huge elephants. According to some scientists, it might have been even bigger and heavier than this, weighing up to 20 tons!
- Most carnivorous dinosaurs possessed pointed, curved teeth, whereas Spinosaurus had strong, straight, knife-like teeth ideal for spearing prey. Spinosaurus’ mouth resembled a crocodile’s mouth quite a little.
- In parts of what is now Egypt, scientists have discovered the bones of Spinosaurus, which they believe were formerly mangrove wetlands. According to evidence, Spinosaurus appears to have been the only genuine swimming dinosaur.
- Despite eating mostly fish, Spinosaurus also consumed smaller land creatures like dinosaurs. Evidence suggests that, like the T-Rex and other huge carnivores, they may have occasionally scavenged for food.
- In 1915, while excavating in Africa, German paleontologist Ernst Stromer discovered the Spinosaurus. Stromer found some bones that had been destroyed by World War II in 1944. Spinosaurus fossilized remnants have been discovered in Egypt and Morocco.
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