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'Spiny' is the Super-Sized Predatory Dino

By JW Dowey - 13 Sep 2014 13:28:28 GMT
'Spiny' is the Super-Sized Predatory Dino

The massive jaws and the adaptive limbs would help Spinosaurus to catch giant fish and other dinosaurs and become the biggest predatory dinosaur, despite the challenging opposition of other giant theropods that are much more terrestrial; Spinosaurus image; Credit: © Shutterstock

The genus Spinosaurus refers to an animal that has now been established as the largest predatory beast ever known. As might be predicted, the support of water in some niche involving semi-aquatic habits was likely to be useful. This would help the species to grow such an enormous bulk. The spiny dinosaur lived in Cretaceous North Africa 95 million years ago, when great rivers flowed into what is now the Atlantic. Eating large fish and other dinosaurs, the speciation must have involved becoming so large in size that it could hunt, locate and catch, the best prey.

The tools Spinosaurus aegyptiacus used to catch animals were high fleshy nostrils for breathing at the surface, dense bone structure, crocodile-like jaws (although they are not related to Archosaurs, as some have hinted), pedals for feet, swimming ability that has not been proved in dinosaurs before and the puzzling spines, forming a sail-like structure on the back. The bones also lacked marrow, which is a feature only found in aquatic animals, as the ability to dive is compromised by the buoyancy of fatty bone marrow.

The neck as well as the trunk was very long, giving a centre of gravity that was anterior to the knees. Total length was probably 50 feet (15.2m), with those spines measuring 7 feet (2m) long. Its mass was 6 tons, with a height of 20 feet (6m), so if you waited at a bus stop, one of these might have come along for you. Small pelvic girdles and short hind limbs complete the picture of a riverine monster, probably hunting in estuaries and other wide, deep freshwater areas.

Nizar Ibrahim of the University of Chicago and several colleagues from Corso Venezia, Universita di Roma, the Universities of Bristol and Portsmouth and Morocco's Universite Hassan II publish the latest "aquadino" news as- Giant dinosaur was a terror of Cretaceous waterways.

The lost giant has been known since an Egyptian find in 1903, but the actual leg bone fossils were destroyed in the WW2 bombing of Munich. Now in Morocco, the Keds Beds of fossils have revealed a better and bigger specimen. It is to be briefly displayed in the National Geographic Museum in Washngton DC. As Nasir Ibrahim explored Morocco for the magazine. After this display, a permanent home will be available in Casablanca for their famous "Spiny."