This spectacular carnivore was first named by German Paleontologist Ernst Stromer, in 1915. Stromer’s expeditions to the Great Western Desert of Egypt, Africa, recovered the partial remains of a large predator, which he brought back to Germany and named Spinosaurus. These original fossils of Spinosaurus were entirely destroyed during the Second World War, when a bomb hit the museum in Munich, Germany. Spinosaurus has gone through several severe changes in its appearance over the years, as more material is being studied by paleontologists.
Spinosaurus was originally depicted as a rather typical bibedal theropod, differentiated from other meat-eaters mainly on the basis of its tall neural spines. The discovery of additional material, including other more complete spinosaurids, revealed that Spinosaurus was unusual in many other ways. It had a long stretched out skull and an enlarged claw on its thumb. A detailed study of all the available evidence in 2014 concluded that Spinosaurus also had unusual body proportions. It had particularly short legs and was probably semi-aquatic. It may even have supported itself on all fours when it was walking on land. Its long snout was adapted for eating fish and it was probably a strong swimmer, like a crocodile.
Fossil remains of Spinosaurus are known from Late Cretaceous deposits across Northern Africa. It shared its coastal plain and river delta environments with several other large predatory dinosaurs, including Carcharodontosaurus and Deltadromeus, approximately 100 million years ago. It is unusual for so many different large predators to live alongside each other, so they probably exploited different food sources. While Spinosaurus was hunting for fish, the other meat-eating dinosaurs may have hunted other prey on the land.
- Size in cm: 21.5 L x
- Size in in: 8.46 L x