The Spine Lizard, Spinosaurus
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The Spine Lizard, Spinosaurus

The Spinosaurus is a huge dinosaur with a crocodilian type head and a large sail on its back. The Spinosaurus is one of the better known dinosaurs as it is commonly used in mass media like video games, movies like “Jurassic Park 3“, books, and action figures and toys. The Spinosaurus has also appeared on postal stamps from Angola, the Gambia, and Tanzania.

Spinosaurus was one of the biggest carnivores to ever live; at the moment, they are considered the largest, but as new dinosaurs fossils are being found every few years, another larger carnivore may eventually be found. Spinosaurus lived 112 to 97 million years ago in what is now, northern and northwestern Africa. The name Spinosaurus is Greek for “Spine Lizard”, which relates to the large sail that is found on the dinosaur’s back

Spinosaurus skeletons are very popular museum attractions as they are very large and impressive looking. The majority of Spinosaurus skeletons displayed in museums today were found from 1915 to 1993. Ernst Stromer found the first and most intact Spinosaurus skeleton ever found, in Egypt, in 1915. Unfortunately, the skeleton was destroyed in World War 2 when the allies bombed Berlin. It was not until about thirty years ago, that other Spinosaurus skeletons were found; they were found in Egypt, Morocco, Tanzania, and Angola. As the Spinosaurus skeletons found in Egypt were slightly different than the ones found in Morocco or Tanzania, some scientists believe that there was two different species of Spinosaurus; however, other scientists believe that the small difference come from environment, not due to being different species.

Scientists believe that the Spinosaurus measured from 40-60 feet long and weighed from 7-20 tonnes. They had strong powerful legs and arms that supported their immense size. Spinosaurus differ from Tyrannosaurus Rex by having long arms instead of short, making it possible for them to walk on either two legs or four. They had four deadly sharp sickle-shaped claws on each hand that could easily rend flesh and disembowel their prey. It is theorized that they also used their claws to hold prey. One of the most distinctive things about the Spinosaurus is the large sail that runs along their backs; both male and female Spinosaurus had sails on their backs. Scientists believe that the sails were used to attract mates, or to expel or attract heat. Spinosaurus had a very crocodilian-like head with sharp conical teeth; their teeth fit together very much like the teeth of a crocodile.

Spinosaurus was a carnivore that ate almost anything; they ate anything from fish, pterosaurs, small to medium sized dinosaurs and carrion. Due to the shape of their teeth, scientists theorize that their diet primarily consisted of fish. However, they also believe that they were opportunistic predators, similar to today’s Grizzly bear. Due to their immense size, very few dinosaurs were a threat to a Spinosaurus; they only had to fear other larger Spinosaurus, disease or injury from large aggressive herbivores like Triceratops.

The Spinosaurus was one of the largest most impressive dinosaurs to ever walk this planet. They were certainly one of the apex predators in their time. However, like all the great dinosaurs of old, they fell prey to the biggest predator of all, time.

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