Researchers have uncovered new details about a monstrous swimming dinosaur who was bigger than Tyrannosaurus Rex — and enjoyed snacking on sharks.
Spinosaurus aegyptiacus was a crocodilian-like creature with a massive head and neck, built to carry the majority of its weight on its front end. It was able to propel itself through water with flat, broad feet and boasted powerful claws for grasping viciously at unfortunate prey.
This fifty-foot-long beast weighed over 40,000 pounds — arguably serving as the largest carnivorous dinosaur ever known, far bigger than the great Tyrannosaurus Rex. Spinosaurus persisted during the Cretaceous period, more than 100 million years ago.
Its long neck and extended jaw were inset with imposing rows of razor-edge cone-shaped teeth. Its ability to live on land and in water equates to a vast range of dietary options but evidence leads scientists to believe they primarily feasted on turtles, sawfish, lungfish — and even sharks.
Fossils were first discovered in the Egyptian Sahara over 100 years ago, with additional remains uncovered along what was a former river system, now regarded as the Kem Kem beds.
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Its most unusual characteristic is the presence of a large vertebral sail that was theorized to be multicolored, adding another element of physical dominance to this already terrifying creature. Scientists are unsure as to its exact function but certain it played a role in predatory display, possibly similar to the fin of a shark when submerged beneath the water.
While the role of the canvassing sail remains unclear, it is certain that Spinosaurus aegyptiacus was the largest carnivorous dinosaur to have ever lived on earth and had been as equally capable of slicing up its prey as swallowing them whole.
The recent fossil studies are published in the Journal of Paleontology.
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