Study on the behavior of giant carnivorous dinosaur Spinosaurus sheds new light

Reconstruction of the life of a Spinosaurus in water and fishing. Credit: © Nichols 2020

New research from the Queen Mary University of London and the University of Maryland has sparked debate around the behavior of the giant dinosaur Spinosaurus.

Since its discovery in 1915, the biology and behavior of the giant Spinosaurus has surprised paleontologists worldwide. It was recently argued that the dinosaur was largely an aquatic predator, using its large tail to float and actively propel fish into the water.

New study, published today Paleontologia electronica, Challenging this recent approach to Spinosaurus, suggesting that as long as it is fed with water, and may herd, it was not conducive to an aquatic hunter’s life. Instead it was like a giant (if flightless) heron or stork – fishing from the shoreline, while taking any other small available prey on land or in the water.

Researchers compared the characteristics of Spinosaurus with the skulls and skeletons of other dinosaurs and various living and extinct reptiles that lived on land, in water, or both. They found that there were many pieces of evidence refuting the aquatic discovery predator concept, none contradicted the Wading Heron-like model, and various lines of evidence actively supported it.

Queen Mary’s senior lecturer and lead author on the project Drs. David Hone said: “Spinosaurus’ biology and ecology have been troubling paleontologists for decades. Some recent studies have suggested that it was actively chasing fish in the water, but when they could swim ., They will not be as fast or efficient to do this effectively. Our findings suggest that the wading idea is much better supported, even if it is a little less exciting. “

Study on the behavior of giant carnivorous dinosaur Spinosaurus sheds new light

The reconstructed skeleton of the medium-sized Spinosaurus shows its famous sail-back and tail shape. The scale bar is 1 meter. Sincerely: Genya Masukawa

Co-author Tom Holtz, Principal Lecturer in Vertebra Paleontology at the University of Maryland, said: “Spinosaurus was a bizarre animal even by dinosaur standards, and nothing is still alive today, so it will always be difficult to try to understand this ecology. We Demand to use. ” What evidence is there to give us the best estimate of its way of life. And what we found did not match the qualities one would expect in an aquatic search hunter in the form of an otter, sea lion, or short-necked placiosaur. “

One of the important pieces of evidence by researchers concerning the ability of dinosaurs to swim. Spinosaurus was previously shown to be a less efficient swimmer than a crocodile, but has fewer tail muscles than a crocodile, and due to its size there is much more drag in the water.

Dr. Hohn said: “Crocodiles are excellent in water compared to land animals, but it is not that special for aquatic life and are not able to actively chase after fish. If Spinosaurus had fewer muscles on its tail , So less efficiency and more drag. It’s hard to see how these dinosaurs are chasing fish that crocodiles can’t. “

Dr. Holtz said: “We certainly add that the evidence partially feeds Spinosaurus, even mostly, in water, probably more than any other large dinosaur. But it is a different claim that it Is a fast swimmer after aquatic hunting. ”Although Drs. Hohn concludes: “While our study provides us with a clear picture of the ecology and behavior of Spinosaurus, there are still many outstanding questions and details to investigate for future studies and we should continue to review our ideas.” Because we further accumulate evidence and data on these unique dinosaurs. This will not be the last word on the biology of these amazing animals. “

Originally found in Egypt, Spinosaurus is considered one of the largest carnivorous dinosaurs possibly reaching more than 15 meters in length. The first known Spinosaurus fossils were destroyed during World War II by Allied bombardment, which has hindered paleontologists’ efforts to understand these unusual creatures. More recently the dinosaur rose to fame in the 2001 film Jurassic Park III, where it fights and loses out to a Tyrannosaurus XX.

Dino teeth research proves that the giant predator dinosaur lived in water

more information:
David Hone et al. Evaluation of the ecology of Spinosaurus: shoreline general or aquatic exploration expert ?, Paleontologia electronica (2021). DOI: 10.26879 / 1110

Provided by Queen Mary, University of London

Quotes: The study sheds new light on the behavior of the giant carnivorous dinosaur Spinosaurus (2021, 26 January). Retrieved 26 January 2021 from

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