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Spinosaurus

'Spine lizard'

WWD

Spinosaurus was most probably the largest meat eater ever to walk the earth. It was a bipedal dinosaur with a crocodile-like head and a sail running down its back.

They call it home

Spinosaurus lived in the large tidal floodplains and mangrove forests present in the area which we know now as the Sahara Desert.

What big teeth you have

What big teeth you have

Spinosaurus had large, straight teeth, which were excellent for skewering slippery fish.


Nose knowledge

Nose knowledge

Spinosaurus' nostrils faced forwards, much like a crocodile, which would have been a useful adaption for hunting in the water.

The most fantastic find

The most fantastic find

Spinosaurus was first described by German palaeontologist Ernst Freiherr Stromer von Reichenbach from a fossil found in 1912 by Richard Markgraf in central Egypt. Sadly, on 24 April 1944, a British bombing raid destroyed these and many other fossil specimens. So you could say that Spinosaurus was lost twice: once when it went extinct and the second time in 1944 as the result of a bomb.

Spinosaurus features

Spinosaurus features Height: 7m (22.96ft)
Length: 17m (55.76ft)
Weight: 20 tonnes (22.4 short tons)
Top speed: 40kph (24.85mph)
Vision: Spinosaurus most probably had binocular vision to judge distance and time its attacks on its fishy supper.
Skin: Spinosaurus had long spiky vertebrae rising from its back, which would have supported a sail of skin.
Brain: Spinosaurus was an advanced theropod so we can assume that it had a high IQ for a dinosaur.
Prey: Spinosaurus was adapted for hunting fish, but it would have taken land animals too. The fossilised remains of Iguanodon have been found near the giant theropod's stomach.
Bite: Spinosaurus had a secondary palate so that it could eat and breathe at the same time, just like a crocodile.
Nest: Spinosaurus eggs are assumed to fit the usual theropod pattern of being bird-like in shape, measuring between 10 and 15cm (4-6in) long and having a shell a couple of millimetres (0.07in) thick.

Spinosaurus facts and theories

Spinosaurus facts and theories

  1. Spinosaurus had a 'fish trap' at the front of its snout – a cage-like array of small teeth that could hold slippery fish.
  2. Spinosaurus might have shared its habitat with at least two other theropods, Bahariasaurus and Carcharodontosaurus.
  3. Because no complete skeleton of Spinosaurus has been found, its large size is an educated guess, based on scaling the fossils of Spinosaurus to more completely known relatives. The piscivorous diet of Spinosaurus set it apart from other dinosaurs. It was probably something like a Cretaceous grizzly bear, spearing fish with its claws and jaws while wading in streams.
  4. Spinosaurus was larger than Giganotosaurus and the famous Tyrannosaurus rex.
  5. Spinosaurus had a huge sail running along its back. The longest spine measured a mighty 1.5m (5ft) long. The sail might have been used to regulate its body temperature, attract mates or deter enemies – or could have performed a combination of all of these functions.
  6. Spinosaurus had the longest head of any known carnivorous dinosaur. It was close to 1.8m (6ft) in length – the same as the height of a grown man.