From Land Shark to River Monster: Unveiling the Truth About Spinosaurus

The origin of Spinosaurus aegypti and the establishment of its family

The German paleontologist Ernst Stromer discovered the jawbone and other fossils of a giant animal in Egypt in 1912. It took Ernst several years to piece together its complete appearance. The animal had crocodile-like jaws, cone-shaped teeth, a slender body, and large sail-like dorsal vertebrae with several neural spines growing on them. In 1915, Ernst named it “Spinosaurus aegypti” based on this peculiar feature, which means a lizard with huge dorsal spines.

Due to World War II, the Spinosaurus model was destroyed in the war. Paleontologists tried to use other dinosaur fossils to reconstruct the image of Spinosaurus, which now seems a bit bizarre. It was not until the 1980s that paleontologists integrated dinosaurs including Baryonyx, Spinosaurus, and Crocodylus, and defined the Spinosauridae established by Ernst in 1915 for the first time. These fish-based dinosaurs were The evolutionary context of the bizarre theropods that serve as staple foods has been initially established.
From the God of War “Ghisla” to the “Four-Legged Fisherman”

The god of war “Ghisla” appears

Things always change unexpectedly. At the beginning of the 21st century, a sudden storm swept through the dinosaur circle, misleading the public’s understanding of Spinosaurus. It was artificially pushed to a height that it did not belong to, and affected the restored image of Spinosaurus for more than ten years. .

In “Jurassic Park 3” released in 2001, the apex predator who captured the Tyrannosaurus rex alive and chased the protagonist group is still impressive to this day. Except for the tall back sail, the other structures of its body completely contradict people’s understanding of ancient creatures. Later, the scientific consultant who served as the film said in an interview: “What we decided to do was to add this new animal, which is the largest carnivorous dinosaur, far larger than Tyrannosaurus rex.” This is obviously an eye-catching way. This approach is a good thing from the perspective of commercial promotion, but it has led many children who love science and pursue the truth astray, and has cast a veil on the truth about Spinosaurus.

On this basis, the wave of demonic beasts turning into Spinosaurus was out of control, and “Spinosaurus” was born in the documentary “The Resurrection of Ancient Behemoths” released in 2010. In the film, Spinosaurus uses its sharp claws to fight against Carcharodontosaurus, easily biting and killing Sarcosuchus. Whether they are large herbivorous or carnivorous dinosaurs, they are all “on the plate”. This kind of god-making behavior is even included in documentaries The official commentators believed: “This kind of animal may only be seen in Japanese monster movies.” This brought great misleading to the image of dinosaurs on the Internet that was just emerging at the time. Whenever the topic of the strongest dinosaurs was discussed, it was very confusing. Dragon became the only answer. Now it seems that this phenomenon is quite ironic and ridiculous.
The dust has settled on “Four-Legged Fisherman”

During the “Chisra” wave, German paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim gave his opinion: “When I saw its bones, I realized that its behavior should be different from other dinosaurs. .” He led the team to conduct an investigation in Morocco and made a major discovery. The image of Spinosaurus also underwent a subversive change after this discovery.

In 2014, Ibrahim and other scholars published a research report in which they published materials of new spinosaurid species discovered during excavations in Morocco. One of the bones was designated by Ibrahim as the new Spinosaurus aegypti. mold. According to its calculations on the samples, Spinosaurus is a slender animal, longer than Tyrannosaurus rex, but much lighter in weight. This obviously does not conform to the previous view that it is the “largest carnivorous dinosaur”. Due to the short bones of the hind legs, it would be unable to maintain its center of gravity and body balance if running on two legs. Spinosaurus should have landed on all fours, and its hind feet would have had a web-like structure similar to that of a duck, which should have good hydrophilicity.

Once this point of view was put forward, it received criticism from peers one after another. The most famous one is that a scholar refuted Ibrahim’s question about whether Spinosaurus was completely aquatic. The scholar established a 3D model for analysis, but did not object to the hydrophilicity of Spinosaurus. After all, from its skull structure, nostril structure, and bones Density (it is generally believed that dinosaurs with high bone density are more likely to be hydrophilic) and flippers, it is undoubtedly a “four-legged fisherman”.

In 2020, Ibrahim collected more new materials through exploration. The most explosive one is undoubtedly the tail of Spinosaurus. It is different from other theropods in that its tail vertebra is composed of protrusions about 60 cm long. . The tail fossil was restored and found to be similar to the tails of today’s salamanders and some water-loving lizards, which put an end to its aquatic characteristics.
The function of the beautiful dorsal sail and long fin-like tail

The back sail of Spinosaurus

As a hydrophilic Spinosaurus, its wide dorsal sail is undoubtedly an obstacle underwater. Unlike the extremely fast sailfish, which achieves acceleration by folding its dorsal sail, this is another reason why Spinosaurus cannot be completely aquatic. Reliable basis. Some people believe that there are many nerves in its dorsal sail, which are used to regulate body temperature, just like crocodiles, which maintain body temperature by basking in the sun. But later, some scholars calculated the growth rates of various dinosaurs by studying fossils, and then compared them with the growth rates of various existing animals. They could know the metabolic rate, and then inferred the body temperature data of dinosaurs, and finally concluded that dinosaurs were endothermic animals. Therefore, the idea that Spinosaurus’s back sail was used for temperature regulation is denied. Combined with the analysis of the sail lizards, spotted lizards, etc. that exist today, it is concluded that their beautiful back sails are used for courtship, just like peacocks opening their tails and other phenomena are used during courtship.
Spinosaurus’ long fin-like tail

Spinosaurus, like today’s sail lizards, iguanas, spotted lizards, etc., all had fin-like tails, which helped them live in shallow waters. Why it is not a purely aquatic species, the answer can be given from the tail. Compared with crocodiles and even existing lizards, the tail of Spinosaurus is much smaller in proportion to the body. It is very difficult to push such a huge body forward. At the same time, due to the non-retractable nature of the dorsal sail, it is destined to take Spinosaurus out of deep water. , be a happy “fisherman” in shallow water.

In short, the tall and majestic image of Spinosaurus Egypt will remain in the hearts of the public forever, and its correct destination is the scientific and objective “fisherman” image. In this materialistic era, many film and television works or children’s popular science books may bias the public’s perception, but after the storm, what emerges is a new understanding of science and the appreciation of paleontologists who aim to explore the truth. respect.

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