Knowing These Secrets Will Make Your Spinosaurus Fossils Look Amazing! | Kidadl


Knowing These Secrets Will Make Your Spinosaurus Fossils Look Amazing!

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If you're a fan of dinosaurs and the 'Jurassic Park' world, then you'll surely want to read this article!

Scientists and archaeologists have recently discovered new Spinosaurus fossils in the North African country of Morocco, that are believed to be among the largest dinosaur fossils ever found. This massive creature weighed in at a whopping 44092.4 lb (20,000 kg) and was up to 52 ft (16 m) long!

It's amazing to think that such a large animal once roamed the Earth's surface. Scientists have made more fascinating discoveries about the Spinosaurus by conducting a detailed study on its structure, habitat, lifestyle, food habits, and so on. Learn more about the Spinosaurus and its fossilized remains in this article.

Spinosaurus Fossils And Archeology

The Spinosaurus is a genus of theropod dinosaur that lived in what is now North Africa during the Cenomanian period, about 100-94 million years ago. The Spinosaurus (meaning 'spine lizard' or 'spine reptile') dinosaur is identified from its fossils, including teeth, skull, vertebrae, and parts of the shoulder girdle and ribs.

Fossils can teach us a lot about the history of our planet and the creatures that have lived on it. By studying Spinosaurus fossils, scientists have been able to learn more about this massive creature and its place in the dinosaur world. We now know that Spinosaurus was the largest known carnivorous dinosaur and possibly one of the largest land animals of all time!

A study of the Spinosaurus has also helped archaeologists in imagining what these predatory dinosaurs looked like and how they lived. Spinosaurus fossils reveal that the length of the body of this dinosaur could have ranged between 46-59 ft (14-18 m). Its skull was around 6 ft (1.7 m) long and weighed equivalent to three elephants between 26,455-44092 lb (12,000-20,000 kg). These dimensions of the Spinosaurus bones indicate that the Spinosaurus was even heavier and taller than the enormous Tyrannosaurus or T-Rex. Hence, archaeologists conclude that the Spinosaurus was indeed the largest carnivorous dinosaur inhabiting the planet.

Apart from its impressive size, archaeologists have also made interesting discoveries by comparing Spinosaurus fossils with other dinosaurs like Edaphosaurus, Dimetrodon, and the herbivorous dinosaur Ouranosaurus. While all these distinct dinosaur species had fin-like neural spines, the ones on Edaphosaurus and Dimetrodon were thin and similar to rods. On the other hand, the spine of Ouraosaurus was much thicker than that of Spinosaurus. This discovery led scientists to brainstorm the purpose of the spine of this gigantic dinosaur. It was later concluded that the spines of all these species served the same purpose but were distinct from one another because of the differences in the period during which these dinosaurs lived on the planet. However, the topic regarding the purpose of the spine of the Spinosaurus is highly debated even today.

Moving on to the skull shapes of the fossils found of the giant predator, a strong resemblance has been found with a modern crocodile. Further, the structure of the skull fossil indicates that the Spinosaurus was a semi-aquatic organism meaning that it was a fish-eating dinosaur. The Spinosaurus had large teeth, narrow snout, elongated jaws, raised nostrils, and conical teeth with smooth edges. It is through analysis of the teeth of the lost dinosaurs that archaeologists opined that apart from fish, the Spinosaurus was also one of the meat-eating dinosaurs. Besides its skull shape, Spinosaurus fossils also show that they share another similarity with crocodiles. Both organisms have a secondary palate that allows them to eat and breathe simultaneously.

With regards to its long tail, the Spinosaurus had a really unusual fin-like tail which again suggests that the dinosaur lived in aquatic habitats. This revelation busted the earlier theory associated with dinosaurs that these organisms lived on land only. The most complete tail fossil of the Spinosaurus discovered to date consists of several long neural spines and bony projections that makes the shape of the tail resemble a fin. Another unique attribute of the newfound fossil tail is that it is flexible, unlike the tails of other dinosaurs that lived on land.

Where Have Spinosaurus Fossils Been Found

The Spinosaurus inhabited planet Earth several million years ago. While we can not go back in time, we can understand, study, analyze and imagine what dinosaurs looked like, where they lived and how they ensured their survival by collecting and studying their fossils.

Years of research and study on Spinosaurus fossils revealed that the dinosaurs lived in semiaquatic adaptations. Fossils of these large theropods are largely found in the Sahara desert in North Africa. The first Spinosaurus bones were discovered in Western Egypt by Richard Markgraf. He had unearthed a partial skeleton of the Spinosaurus in 1912. Following this discovery, in 1915, a paleontologist from Germany, named Ernst Stromer, assigned a genus to the new fossil vertebrates, Spinosaurus aegyptiacus.

Another famous discovery was made in Morocco by an amateur archaeologist when he discovered the Spinosaurus tail in 2008. Later, more experienced archeologists went to the same site and recovered a more complete skeleton. Apart from the discovery of the tail fossil, several remains of Spinosaurus teeth were also found in the Kem Kem beds located near the border of Algeria and Morocco. Besides Northern Africa and Morocco, Spinosaurus remains have been found in South America as well. It is believed that during the period in which the Spinosaurus lived, Northern Africa had a tropical climate and several rivers, wetlands, and lakes were present where the Sahara Desert is located today. Overall, six species of the Spinosaurus dinosaurs have been discovered as of now.

Know all about the Spinosaurus fossil.

Spinosaurus Fossil Facts

The Spinosaurus belonged to the family of theropods which include the T-Rex and Microraptors. Theropods refer to the class of carnivorous dinosaurs and had three-toed arms and legs. If you are more curious about the Spinosaurus dinosaur and its fossils, read some fascinating facts below.

Some scientists with expertise in vertebrate paleontology suggest that the neural spine of the Spinosaurus was used for storing fat in the same way hump-backed animals do. Other theories regarding the spine of the Spinosaurus and its purpose opine that it was used for thermoregulation. Nevertheless, the 1912 discovery of the first specimen of the Spinosaurus by Richard Markgraf in Egypt, was groundbreaking as the partial skeleton found was that of the first known swimming dinosaur that ever lived on Earth! Unfortunately, this historic fossil was destroyed during World War II.

Another characteristic that distinguishes the Spinosaurus from other dinosaurs is that it had denser bones. Its bones were denser than that of the mighty T-Rex as well. The denser bones allowed the Spinosaurus to live in aquatic habitats by giving them greater buoyancy control. Moreover, unlike most therapods who had stiff tails, the Spinosaurus had a flexible tail that enhanced its swimming abilities by helping it in pushing forward and sideways.

In addition to its tail, the Spinosaurus teeth are also intensively researched. Fossils reveal that Surprisingly, you can easily buy small teeth of these large predatory dinosaurs at an affordable price in Morocco because of their easy availability. Since the Spinosaurus teeth are discovered easily in the Kem Kem beds of Morocco, scientists postulate that like sharks, these large dinosaurs also shed teeth when they reached maturity. However, if you want to collect the Spinosaurus teeth longer than 3 in (7.6 cm), you will have to pay more as they are exceptionally rare. This is because most Spinosaurus did not live long enough to reach their actual size.

Another fascinating feature of the Spinosaurus teeth is that when one is broken, the inside is ivory white due to the presence of a phosphate mineral. When this material reacts with oxygen, its color changes from ivory white to a yellower shade.

The most distinctive feature of the Spinosaurus skeleton is the massive bony fin present on its back. This is also known as a sail, and it can reach up to a height of 7 ft (2.1 m). This fin-back-like structure was actually part of the Spinosaurus dinosaur's spine. When the Spinosaurus arched its back, the sail was raised. The purpose of this fin was to frighten off any other predators fighting for food with the Spinosaurus.

The Spinosaurus walked on two legs most of the time, but it could also walk on all fours. The Spinosaurus had webbed feet and legs significantly shorter than those of many other dinosaurs, but its arms were unusually long and powerful.

Although the species of Spinosaurus aegyptiacus is more popular, one more species of the Spinosaurus has been named. These are Spinosaurus marocannus. As the name suggests, the second species was discovered in Morocco and was smaller in size in comparison to Spinosaurus aegyptiacus. 

If you are wondering how did these powerful species disappear from the face of the Earth, you need to know a bit about the Cretaceous period during which they lived. The Spinosaurus lived during the Cenomanian and Albian periods, in the middle Cretaceous period, dating back to almost 100 million years ago. This was the same era when most dinosaurs became extinct, and new species of dinosaurs arrived. The Spinosaurus also became a victim of extinction by the end of the Cretaceous period as the global temperatures increased, drying up their aquatic habitats and leaving them with scarce food.

If you want to see how the Spinosaurus has been represented in pop culture, watch the movie 'Jurassic Park III' which was released in 2001. In this film, the Spinosaurus played the villain and won against the enormous T-Rex. However, don't believe everything you watch in movies as a duel between these two dinosaurs would have never taken place in reality considering that both of them existed on Earth in different geological periods. The T-Rex arrived on Earth 30 million years after the Spinosaurus. This dinosaur has also appeared on stamps of various countries like Angola, Tunisia, Guyana, the Gambia, and Liberia.

The Spinosaurus Fossil Museum

You can find real relics of the Spinosaurus dinosaur, the longest theropod ever, in several museums. Some of them are mentioned below.

Natural History Museum in London, England houses a restored skeleton of the Spinosaurus dinosaur in a swimming posture.

An exhibition was held in the Museum of Natural Science in Barcelona, Spain in 2016 narrating the tale of the destruction of the first Spinosaurus remains during World War II.

The National Geographic Museum in Washington D.C. has stored several replicas of the Spinosaurus dinosaur fossils.

Other museums you can visit to learn about dinosaurs and explore other fossil vertebrates are the Museum for Naturkunde (Berlin, Germany), Field Museum (Chicago, USA), Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Science (Brussels, Belgium), and the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology (Alberta, Canada).


Where can I find a Spinosaurus fossil?

Spinosaurus fossils are usually found in North African countries like Morocco, Egypt, and Tunisia. Some Spinosaurus remains have also been discovered in South America.

Why are there so few Spinosaurus fossils?

While it is easy to find Spinosaurus teeth and some parts of the Spinosaurus tail, it is rare to find a complete skeleton of the dinosaur. This is because animals as large as Spinosaurus dinosaurs do not fossilize easily.

How big is the Spinosaurus?

The giant predator stretches 46-59 ft (14-18 m) in length. It is bigger than the T-rex and is the longest theropod ever.

What do the Spinosaurus eat?

The Spinosaurus is the largest carnivorous dinosaur found to date. The Spinosaurus lived in aquatic habitats and fed on large fish like sharks, sawfish, lungfish, and meat. It is believed that the Spinosaurus was also a scavenger like T-Rex that fed on the remains of other dead dinosaurs.

Written By
Akshita Rana

<p>With a Master's in Management from the University of Manchester and a degree in Business Management from St. Xavier's, Jaipur, India, Akshita has worked as a content writer in the education sector. She previously collaborated with a school and an education company to improve their content, showcasing her skills in writing and education. Akshita is multilingual and enjoys photography, poetry, and art in her free time, which allows her to bring a creative touch to her work as a writer at Kidadl.</p>

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