Popular among dinosaur lovers and Jurassic Park fans alike, Spinosaurus was once a mighty predator of the Late Cretaceous Period. The dinosaur’s long, paddle-like tail likely helped propel it through the water and its crocodile-like snout made it apt at hunting fish. Most notably, it had a large sail on its back. The debate on whether or not this dino used its sail for swimming is still ongoing.
The story behind the first discovered Spinosaurus fossils is almost as interesting as another ongoing debate — would it win a fight against the Tyrannosaurus rex? Here are some more interesting facts about the Spinosaurus.
How Big Was Spinosaurus?
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Spinosaurus measured about 45 to 60 feet long and stood over 20 feet high. It likely weighed anywhere from 13 to 22 tons (26,000 to 44,000 pounds), making it much larger than T. rex. It also had a skull that measured nearly 6 feet long.
Adding to the size of Spinosaurus was its nearly 5-foot sail that ran along the dinosaur’s spine. While it’s not known for sure, according to the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London, it may have used its sail to aid in swimming or to keep cool. Some even think it could have been used as part of a mating display.
Where Did Spinosaurus Live?
Spinosaurus dominated the Late Cretaceous Period, about 99 and 93.5 million years ago. It lived in what is modern-day North Africa. Fossils have been found in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria.
According to the NHM, during that time, the environment consisted of Mangrove forests and marshy tidal flats with changing water levels. This was a great environment for hunting fish, though, according to the NHM, water levels may have been lower during dry seasons, and Spinosaurus may have had to turn to land hunting.
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When Were Spinosaurus Fossils Discovered?
(Credit: Ibe van Oort/Shutterstock)
According to the University of Chicago, a German paleontologist named Ernst Stromer discovered the first remains of Spinosaurus in Egypt. His colleague Richard Markgraf — a fossil collector, helped send the fossils from Egypt back to Germany in 1912.
Stromer spent years piecing the fossils together and writing a paper on his findings. He named the fossil Spinosaurus aegyptiacus. As years went on and World War I began, it was harder to ship fossils from Egypt to Germany.
By the time fossils had finally arrived in 1922, Stromer found that not only had they sat in storage for eight years, but they were badly damaged. He again spent years piecing the fossils together and, by 1930, was able to publish a second paper on Spinosaurus.
Unfortunately, Stromer’s findings and publishings coincided with the rise of Adolf Hilter and Nazi Germany. Stromer spoke out against Hitler, and it cost him dearly. After losing his job at the museum in which the Spinosaurus fossil was displayed, an allied bomb destroyed the building and Stromer’s discovery with it.
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Spinosaurus vs. T. Rex: Who Would Win?
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On the Silver Screen, the popular Jurassic Park advisory turned anti-hero, T. rex or “Rexy,” was once seen as the biggest and baddest of all the dinosaurs, until Jurassic Park III introduced Spinosaurus. It’s important to note that Jurassic Park III takes place on a different island than the original park, where Rexy was queen.
In the third installment, Spinosaurus and a juvenile T. rex meet in a battle royale in which Spinosaurus is the victor. This led many to question who would actually win this prehistoric brawl. To break it down, let’s see what each predator has to bring to the table.
Its bite force was equivalent to about 2 tons.
It had 64 teeth, similar to the jaws of a crocodile.
Its skull was 6-feet-long.
The Spinosaurus weighed about 26,000 to 44,000 pounds and measured 40 to 65 feet long.
It was possibly a water and land predator.
Its bite force was equivalent to 6 tons — enough force to rip a car in half.
It had 60 serrated teeth that were about eight inches long.
A large skull indicated a larger brain and intelligence.
Its weight was 11,000 to 15,000 pounds and it measured about 40 feet in length.
T. rex was a land predator.
While Spinosaurus outweighed T. rex, there is no denying the strength of T. rexs’ bite. While T. rex was a land predator, Spinosaurus may have had a sneak attack advantage by hiding underwater.
The reality of the battle, however, is that Spinosaurus and T. rex lived in different parts of the world and during different periods of time, so they likely would never have crossed paths and would have never fought each other. Still, dinosaur lovers tend to lean more toward their beloved Rexy as the overall winner.
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