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Suchomimus tenerensis was a crocodile-like dinosaur belonging to Africa. Suchomimus lived nearly 112 million years ago during the Early Cretaceous period. It had an elongated head and snout, giving it its name, which means 'crocodile mimic'. The name was given by scientists like Hans Larsson, Paul Sereno, David Varricchio, Gabrielle Lyon, Allison Beck, Jeffrey Wilson, Gregory Wilson, and Rudyard Sadleir, who also described the species. Suchomimus belonged to the Spinosauridae family. It was semi-aquatic in nature and hunted for prey both on land and in water. Various species of fish were a major part of the diet of Suchomimus tenerensis.
This dinosaur was 31-36 ft (9.4-11 m) long and 12 ft (3.6 m) tall. It had a weight between 5511.5-11464 (2500-5200 kg). It had strong limbs, which were provided with sharp claws. However, the claw of the thumb was the most prominent and aided in its natural hunting instincts. The structure of the teeth of Suchomimus proves it predominantly fed on fishes. The tropical climate of Africa provided quite a hospitable environment for Suchomimus to exist and flourish. Suchomimus lived in the same period as the crocodylomorphs and pterosaurs.
The name Suchomimus, meaning 'crocodile mimic', can be pronounced as 'Su-ko-mie-mus'.
Suchomimus was a theropod dinosaur closely related to the Spinosaurus. The description and name of this dinosaur were provided by a group of researchers, including Hans Larsson, David Varricchio, Gabrielle Lyon, Allison Beck, Jeffrey Wilson, Gregory Wilson, and Rudyard Sadleir.
Suchomimus existed 125-112 million years ago, during the Early Cretaceous period. More precisely, it existed during the Aptian stage of that era. The elongated snout of this dinosaur, along with its colorful sail on the back, surely made it stand out during that time!
Owing to a lack of fossil records stating otherwise, it can be assumed that this spinosaurid dinosaur became extinct during the Early Cretaceous period itself.
Paleontologists discovered the bones of this dinosaur from Niger, which is in North Africa. The discovery was made by David Varricchio in the year 1997 and included the thumb claw of this dinosaur. Subsequently, Paul Sereno and his team discovered more parts of Suchomimus in the same location. Hence, this dinosaur was probably endemic to the continent of Africa.
Like a crocodile of modern times, the natural habitat of this carnivorous dinosaur was probably semi-aquatic. The tropical climate of Africa during that era, along with the presence of forests and rivers, supported the existence of this dinosaur. The Elrhaz Formation from where Suchomimum was excavated was a kind of inland ecosystem with freshwater.
The social behavior of the 'crocodile mimic' dinosaur is still a mystery. However, paleontologists have established that the Spinosaurus dinosaur was solitary in nature. So, it can be assumed that Suchomimus lived the same way.
The estimated life span of Spinosaurus is around 30 years. Since Spinosaurus and Suchomimus are both spinosaurids, it is likely the longevity of Suchomimus was the same.
There is certainly not a lot of information available regarding the reproductive patterns of the Suchomimus dinosaurs. We do know that these dinosaurs were oviparous and hence, reproduced by laying eggs. The extent of parental care remains to be a mystery.
The appearance of Suchomimus, or the 'crocodile mimic', was certainly fascinating and worth mentioning. The discovery of the skull and partial skeleton has helped researchers enlist the characters of this dinosaur.
Suchomimus had quite a large skull, which could reach a potential length of 4 ft (1.2 m). The skull had a very narrow snout, which was long in appearance. The nomenclature of this 'crocodile mimic' animal was done based on the shape of its head. The jaw was narrow in appearance but quite powerful, nevertheless. Each jaw was provided with sharp and serrated teeth.
The body of Suchomimus was quite impressive, as well. It had muscular forelimbs that ended in three fingers. Interestingly, each forelimb of this dinosaur had a prominent thumb, which was provided with a sickle-shaped claw. This claw was the largest among the three claws of the fingers. The most unique character belonging to this dinosaur would certainly be the sail it had running along its back. The sail was made of the neural spines of the vertebrae belonging to this spinosaurid. It has been postulated that the sail was quite colorful and vivid. The sail ended with the tail, which was long and powerful.
Due to the lack of a complete fossil skeleton, it is not possible to estimate the exact skeletal structure of this theropod dinosaur. However, some of the bones of Suchomimus which were discovered and made part of its holotype include 14 dorsal vertebrae, three-neck ribs, three sacral vertebrae, 12 tail vertebrae most of the pelvic bones, and a few other pieces.
According to paleontologists, the sail of Suchomimus was probably colorful and vivid. So, it has been theorized that the sail could have been part of mating displays, and hence, may have been used to communicate with each other. It could've also been a part of the dominant behavior of this dinosaur.
Though the fossil evidence of Suchomimus, which eventually became the holotype, belonged to a sub-adult, it has been theorized that the dinosaur had reached its maximum length and height. Hence, the height of this dinosaur was nearly 12 ft (3.6 m) till the hip, while its length was between 31-36 ft (9.4-11 m). However, in comparison to the Spinosaurus dinosaur, which grew up to 52 ft (15.8 m), Suchomimus was clearly much smaller.
The projected speed of this carnivorous dinosaur is around 23.5 mph (37.8 kph). Suchomimus was not as fast as many of the other dinosaurs that existed during that time.
The estimated weight of Suchomimus is between 31-36 ft (9.4-11 m), proving how mighty and heavy these animals were.
No separate names have been assigned to male and female dinosaurs of this group.
A baby Suchomimus would be known as a hatchling.
The diet of Suchomimus has been compared to the diet of the present-day crocodiles. A major portion of this carnivorous dinosaur's diet consisted of fish. It was capable of preying on large fishes, using its sharp sickle-shaped thumb claw to capture and tear the fish. In addition to fishes, this mighty dinosaur of the Early Cretaceous also fed on animals. Its sharp teeth and powerful limbs provided it with an edge when it came to hunting its prey.
The physical characteristics of Suchomimus, along with its diet, point towards this spinosaurid dinosaur being quite aggressive. However, the extent of that aggression is yet to be ascertained.
For the longest time, it had been theorized that Suchomimus was the African counterpart of the Baryonyx, and both were essentially the same species. However, in 1998, Paul Sereno and other researchers analyzed and compared the characteristics of both these dinosaurs to conclude that the two species were very closely related but distinct. One of the main differences was that Suchomimus was larger in size than Baryonyx.
This gave paleontologists a look into the evolution of this animal. Since Suchomimum was closer in features to Baryonyx, it has been hypothesized that the spinosaurs of the Early Cretaceous used the Tethyan Seaway to migrate to and from the landmasses in the north and south.
T. rex is one of the most famous theropod dinosaurs of all time. The height of this dinosaur was 13 ft (4 m), while its length was over 40 ft (12.2 m). Both of these size dimensions prove that T. rex was larger than the Suchomimus. Additionally, the weight of this dinosaur was between 11023-15500 lb (5000-7030.6 kg), so it was significantly heavier as well.
The jaws of this dinosaur were discovered to have about 120 sharp and serrated teeth. The teeth had a conical appearance. The upper jaw of Suchomimus had the longest teeth in its dental arrangement.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Gasparinisaura facts, or Turanoceratops fun facts for kids.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable baby T Rex coloring pages.
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