New research from Queen Mary University of London and the University of Maryland has reignited the controversy over the behavior of the giant dinosaur Spinosaurus.
Since its discovery in 1915, the biology and behavior of the formidable Spinosaurus has puzzled paleontologists around the world. Recently it was said that the dinosaur was largely an aquatic predator, using its large tail to swim and actively pursue fish in the water.
The new study published today in Palaeontologia Electronica, Challenges this latest view of a spinosaurus indicating that while it likely fed on water and may have swum, it has not adapted well to the life of a water-hunting predator. Instead, it was like a giant heron or stork (if it didn’t fly) – snatching fish off the shore while also taking any other small prey available on land or in the water.
Researchers compared Spinosaurus’ features with other skulls and skeletons Dinosaurs And many other living and extinct reptiles that lived on land or in water, or both. They found that while there were many evidence to conflict with the concept of a water-stalking predator, none of them conflicted with a model resembling a submissive heron, and various lines of evidence actively supported it.
Dr David Hoon, a senior lecturer at Queen Mary and lead author of the project, said: “The biology and ecology of Spinosaurus has been bothering paleontologists for decades. Some recent studies have indicated that it was actively stalking fish in water but while they could swim, they weren’t as fast or effective as It’s enough to do it effectively.Our results indicate that the idea of wading is better supported, even if it’s a little less exciting. “
“Spinosaurus was a strange animal even by the standards of dinosaurs, and unlike anything alive today, so trying to understand its environment will always be difficult,” said co-author Tom Holtz, lead lecturer in vertebrate paleontology at the University of Maryland. “We sought to use what evidence we have to approximate the method. “What we found does not match the characteristics one would expect of a water-hunting predator such as otters, sea lions, or short-necked plesiosaurs.”
One of the main clues that researchers discovered relates to the ability of dinosaurs to swim. It has already been shown that a spinosaurus is a less efficient swimmer than an alligator, but it also has fewer tail muscles than an alligator, and because of its size it will have much more resistance in water.
Dr Hun said, “Crocodiles are excellent in water compared to land animals, but they are not specialized in aquatic life and cannot actively hunt fish. If a spinosaurus has less muscles on the tail, less efficiency and more resistance it is difficult to see how these dinosaurs could chase fish in such a way. Crocodiles can’t do it. “
Dr. Holtz added: “We definitely add that the evidence indicates that Spinosaurus is partially, and even mostly, forage in WaterProbably more than any other great dinosaur. But this is a different claim than being a fast swimmer stalking water prey. Although Dr. Hoon concludes: “While our study provides us with a clearer picture of the environment and behavior of a spinosaurus, there are still many pending questions and details to examine for future study and we should continue to review our ideas as we gather more evidence and data about these unique dinosaurs. . That wouldn’t be the last word on the biology of these amazing animals. “
Spinosaurus was originally found in Egypt and is believed to be one of the largest possibly existing carnivorous dinosaurs reaching over 15 meters in length. The first known spinosaurus fossils were destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II, impeding paleontologists’ attempts to understand these unusual creatures. More recently, the dinosaur found fame in the 2001 movie Jurassic Park III, as it fights and defeats Tyrannosaurus rex.
David Hoon et al. Assessing a Spinosaurus environment: a beach specialist or a waterfalls specialist ?, Palaeontologia Electronica (2021). Doi: 10.26879/1110
Queen Mary, University of London
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