Monday, December 15, 2014

Meet Spinosaurus, largest of all the carnivorous dinosaurs

The largest dinosaur predator that ever stalked Earth was also the strangest.
In November scientists announced the discovery in Moroccan desert cliffs of new fossil remains of Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, a 15-metre long, seven-tonne African monster that breaks the mold for how a dinosaur predator looked and behaved.

It was roughly 2.5 metres longer than Tyrannosaurus rex and equally massive. Living during the Cretaceous Period, Spinosaurus is the only known carnivorous dinosaur adapted for a semi-aquatic lifestyle. Estimates suggest that it was 12.6 to 18 metres in length and 7 to 21 tonnes.

The distinctive spines of Spinosaurus, which were long extensions of the vertebrae, grew to at least 1.65 meters (5.4 ft) long and were likely to have had skin connecting them, forming a sail-like structure.

Spinosaurus lived about 112 million to 97 million years ago, roaming the swamps of North Africa.

Spinosaurus terrorized a vast North African river system from Morocco to Egypt. Spinosaurus's environment was "the most dangerous place in the history of our planet."

Spinosaurus was the king of waterways teeming with sharks and 11-metre crocodilians. Flying reptiles with wingspans of seven meters soared overhead. It may not have been agile on land but would have taken down anything in it's path.

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