Size comparison showing Spinosaurus next to a human. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Mario Lanzas
One of the largest predators ever to walk the face of the Earth has turned out to be a surprisingly skilled swimmer.
With its long crocodile-like head and paddle-like feet, Spinosaurus, which grew to a size rivalling or even exceeding that of Tyrannosaurus rex, was one of the world's most ferocious predators.
It roamed what is now North Africa somewhere around 100 million years ago.
Now a new study involving a detailed analysis of the only existing Spinosaurus skeleton has revealed that this gargantuan carnivore may have been built to swim in rivers rather than to walk on land.
Scientists now believe that it used its enormous tail to help propel it along while in the water where it would have most likely hunted fish and other aquatic creatures.
To determine this, the team built a carefully constructed 3D model of a Spinosaurus tail and attached it to a robot that simulates swimming locomotion. By comparing the tail's performance to that of other reptiles such as crocodiles, they found that it was very effective at enabling the animal to swim.
"This discovery really opens our eyes to this whole new world of possibilities for dinosaurs," said study author Nizar Ibrahim from the University of Detroit Mercy.
"It doesn't just add to an existing narrative, it starts a whole new narrative and drastically changes things in terms of what we know dinosaurs could actually do."
"There's nothing like this animal in over 220 million years of dinosaur evolution, which is pretty remarkable."
Source: UPI.com | Comments (5)
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