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A Challenge to the Semi-aquatic Life of Spinosaurus


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A recent interpretation of the fossil remains Spinosaurus aegyptiacus proposed that it was specially adapted for a semi-aquatic mode of life—a first for any predatory dinosaur. To test some aspects of this suggestion this study developed a three-dimensional, digital model of the animal that incorporates regional density variations, lungs and air sacs, and the flotation potential of the model was investigated using specially written software. It was found that Spinosaurus would have been able to float with its head clear of the water surface, although it was laterally unstable and would tend to roll onto its side.  The conclusion is that Spinosaurus was not highly specialized for a semi-aquatic mode of life. Furthermore, the floating characteristics of the Spinosaurus model were similar to those of models of other predatory dinosaurs, indicating that there was nothing special about the buoyant characteristics of this animal, and that other theropods could have successfully taken to water to the same degree as well.  So Spinosaurus may have been specialized for a shoreline or shallow water mode of life, but would still have been a competent terrestrial animal. 

 

Interesting paper, very reputable and a big deal considering the source, The Royal Tyrrell Museum.  

 

Newspaper Article: Royal Tyrrell Research Blows Swimming Dinosaur out of the water

https://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/royal-tyrrell-research-blows-swimming-dinosaur-theory-out-of-the-water

 

 

 

https://peerj.com/articles/5409/

Henderson DM. (2018) A buoyancy, balance and stability challenge to the hypothesis of a semi-aquatic Spinosaurus Stromer, 1915 (Dinosauria: Theropoda)PeerJ 6:e5409 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5409

 

Screenshot_2018-08-16-08-35-14.thumb.jpg.5b4e0a75ceb7ce7c57b9417186d4d033.jpg

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fossilized6s

Interesting. Thanks for sharing this. 

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Thanks! This is pretty big news. Might need to be revising a lot of books and online lectures soon. 

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7 minutes ago, Heteromorph said:

Thanks! This is pretty big news. Might need to be revising a lot of books and online lectures soon. 

It is and it continues to cast another shadow on Nizar Ibrahim/Paul Sereno's 2014 paper.  Will be interesting to see if they come back and argue the findings

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That is the problem when you write a paper based on a composite skeleton.  Many of us have been arguing with Ibrahim for several years over his dimensions based on other material that exists.  Fascinating topic.

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LordTrilobite

Quite interesting. Maybe its back to stork-like feeding behaviour for Spinosaurus. Both the neck and head would fit that pretty well.

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7 minutes ago, LordTrilobite said:

Quite interesting. Maybe its back to stork-like feeding behaviour for Spinosaurus. Both the neck and head would fit that pretty well.

Yes and it had long arms with huge claws perfect for grasping fish.  

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LordTrilobite

As far as I know no complete arms have been found. So I don't think we can say much about the proportions.

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True no associated elements but the reconstruction gives us some idea of what they looked like.  The large claws were there for a reason 

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Comments from Ibrahim and National Geographic who I believe funded the original study.   Trying to put their spin on an embarrassment.   Not sure but I dont believe the 2014 paper was ever put through a peer review.  

 

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2018/08/news-spinosaurus-dinosaurs-buoyancy-swimming-fossils/

spinosaurus-new-study-nationalgeographic_2275019.adapt_1900.1.jpg.e8f33ee0a0e36be56eaad72b5b12c2e1.jpg

 

@sseth  @LordTrilobite  @Heteromorph @fossilized6s

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Now there’s a jolt. Did always think it was a weird thought, that body swimming. Glad they cleared it up.

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Tom Holt on twitter ( one of the leading Paleontologist on theropods)

"In fact, pretty much every theropod paleontologist has some issues with it, even before this new paper came out"

 

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J. Knuppe Twitter 

"New confirmed swimming style for Spinosaurus! ". :D

 

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