Newly identified fossils of a giant carnivorous dinosaur have revealed that the largest-known animal ever to walk on this planet was also an excellent swimmer. This discovery has busted the common belief that dinosaurs were terrestrial animals. The 95 million years old fossils confirmed that Spinosaurus aegyptiacus is the first-known swimming dinosaur. Remains were unearthed from Morocco.
It was even larger than Tyrannosaurus
Scientists estimate that the beat, not yet fully grown, measured more than 50 feet. That’s about 10 feet longer than the previously largest known dinosaur called Tyrannosaurus rex. It had nostrils on top of its head and flat, paddle-like feet that allowed it to submerge into water easily. Its name was inspired by the seven-foot long spines protruding from its back.
Spinosaurus’ body shape suggests that the animal would have found it extremely difficult to walk. Nizar Ibrahim, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago and lead author of the study, said it was a bizarre dinosaur. It had a long trunk, a long neck and a snout like a crocodile. It spent most of its time in the water. Many other ancient creatures such as the mosasaur and plesiosaur lived in water. But they were marine reptiles, not dinosaurs. So, Spinosaurus is the only known aquatic dinosaur.
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Fossils of dinosaur collected from eastern Morocco
Fossils of Spinosaurus aegyptiacus were first discovered more than 100 years ago in Egypt, according to BBC. They were stored at a museum in Munich, Germany. But the fossils were destroyed by an Allied bomb during the World War II. But since then only a few bones of this species have been found. The new fossils were unearthed by a private collector in eastern Morocco. It helped scientists study the dinosaur in greater detail.
Scientists said Spinosaurus was a fearsome beast. Researchers had long suspected that Spinosaurus could swim. But newly recovered fossils offer evidence of its aquatic life. Scientists believe it lived in a waterway that stretched from Egypt to Morocco, which they described as “the river of giants.” It feasted on giant sharks and other large fish such as coelacanths.
Findings of the study appeared in the journal Nature.