Spinosaurus: Swimming Dinosaurs

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Dinosaurs are truly terrifying creatures and stand several meters taller than an average human. These cold-blooded lizards had the strength to bite open cars and kill even bigger lizards. The popularization of dinosaurs such as T-Rex and Spinosaurus is owed to the multiple Jurassic park movies that explored a world where these dinosaurs could be brought back to life.

However, without being able to walk now, these creatures have kept palaeontologists plenty busy with their fossils. Found across almost all the continents, these lizards once ruled the Earth with impunity. If it weren’t for the asteroid that killed them, humans and mammals, in general, wouldn’t have evolved into the animals they are now.

The Spinosaurus is a very interesting creature. With sail-like protrusions sticking out of its spine giving it its name, the dinosaur can be easily imagined to be the worst nightmare to its prey. Now to add to its terrifying capabilities, scientists have discovered that the Spinosaurus not only lived near water but was also capable of swimming in it. The discovery of a giant fossilized tail belonging to the terrifying creature has confirmed that they were aquatic animals with a tail that had especially evolved to provide forward thrust for locomotion for hunting in the rivers.

A Spinosaurus.
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The discovery is going to have huge implications for the field altogether. The idea that the terrestrial dinosaurs might have dwelled in water environments is not new, and investigations have been carried out to ascertain the fact for a long time. However, the overwhelming consensus till now was that the dinosaurs that did not fly were limited to the natural boundaries of the land.

There was no evidence for the researchers to suspect that these gigantic beasts could have navigated the water bodies. Although it was thought that these dinosaurs could have stood on the shores of these water bodies and caught fish just like some bears do today. However, dinosaurs being able to swim was just a hypothesis.

The claims originate in the discovery of a giant fin-like tail found embedded in cretaceous rock deposits of the Sahara Desert in Eastern Morocco. It is being presented as the first unambiguous evidence for an aquatic propulsive structure in a dinosaur. The tail is estimated to be 90 to 100 million years old. It seems to be the first clue as to what the tail of the Spinosaurus’ looked like. There is only one existing skeleton of the species known to man with another having been destroyed in the second world war.

An artist’s rendition of its tail.
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The tail samples recovered seem to have long protrusions sticking out of the central spinal cord, which forms a large, flexible fin-like organ capable of effectively displacing water to provide forward thrust for the beasts. The comparative study of the tail revealed that the thrust it produced was as efficient as any modern aquatic animal’s appendage.

The Spinosaurus was an apex predator that is now confirmed to be able to chase its prey through the aquatic environment. The huge beast is a truly magnificent animal, which has also put a stop to the idea that non-avian dinosaurs never set foot in the aquatic realm.

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