Spinosaurus was a swimmer, claim scientists, according to reports in ABC News in Science 12 September 2014, BBC News, ScienceDaily and Science doi: 10.1126/science.1258750, 11 September 2014. Spinosaurus is a long, low-slung dinosaur with a large sail-like structure projecting from it back. It grew up to 15 metres long, and is usually portrayed as a ferocious predator that could win even against T. rex. It was first identified from specimens found in Egypt over a century ago, but the original fossils were destroyed in World War 2. Now some more fossils of the creature have been found in Morocco, and an international team of scientists has made a detailed study of these, and along with the archival records of the original, they have come to the conclusion that Spinosaurus was a semi-aquatic creature that terrorised sharks and large fish, rather than T. rex.
They describe their findings in an article entitled “Semiaquatic adaptations in a giant predatory dinosaur”.
Spinosaurus seems to be well suited for swimming in that is has a long neck and body with powerful front legs and short hind legs. These features would shift its centre of gravity forward, making it awkward for walking on land. It also had loosely connected bones in the tail, enabling wave-like sideways movement, as occurs in crocodiles, and dense limb bones that would help with controlling buoyancy, similar to those in semiaquatic creatures like penguins and hippos. Its feet were broad with long flat claws, which would be an advantage for walking on muddy surfaces. Its nostrils were located back on the head, enabling it to breathe with its head partly submerged. Its snout also had a number of small holes, similar to those in crocodiles, where they convey nerve endings for pressure sensors, that tell the animal about movement of the water surface. Its teeth were large and conical, and interlocked at the front, making them well suited for catching and holding onto slippery fish.
Although the region where the new fossils were found is now a desert, scientists believe it once was a huge river system extending from Morocco to Egypt. According to the ABC: “The area was once home to an extensive river system, where coelacanths the size of cars lived alongside seven metre long sawfish, and three metre long lungfish. Freshwater sharks and crocodile-like predators, some as long as a bus, also lived in the river system”. The ScienceDaily report adds that fossil flying reptiles we found at the site as well. A separate report on these fossil beds includes the finding of bird fossils as well. (See Ibrahim N, et. al., Dinosaur Footprints and Other Ichnofauna from the Cretaceous Kem Kem Beds of Morocco. PLoS ONE 9(3): e90751. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.009075.)
Editorial Comment: Let us first note that finding the mixed fossils of bus-sized crocodiles and car-sized fish (both salt and fresh water), along with flying reptiles, is really evidence of catastrophic burial of creatures from different environments river, air and sea, as would have occurred in Noah’s flood, rather than in a peaceful river system. We cannot trace any full list of fossils from this site yet but suspect it would also contain fossil trees and other land based life forms.
Secondly note that all these features found on the dinosaur skeletons ‘might’ make Spinosaurus suitable for a semi-aquatic lifestyle, but the bulk of their claim seems to result from finding the monster mixed with fish. Calling the dinosaur’s features adaptations is also misleading, because it implies this creature was once a land dwelling creature that changed into a semiaquatic creature. Given the scarcity of full Spinosaurus skeletons there is little evidence for this.
The fact that Spinosaurus was large with big teeth does not make it a ferocious predator. Genesis tells us that all animals in the original very good world were vegetarian. We know that present day crocodiles and alligators can and do eat fruit, and in the original very good world there would have been plenty of good nutritious fruit and other plants for all animals to eat. (See our report Croc Fruit Eaters, Evidence News 7 August 2013 here.)
The evidence of other giant, yet still living, creatures found alongside Spinosaurus remind us that the world was once a much better place, with ecosystems that could support enormous fish as well as the now extinct giant flying reptiles – a picture painted in Genesis of an original created good world, where creatures such as sawfish and lungfish were meant to reproduce their own kind, and obviously have. (Ref. dinosaurs, reptile, aquatic)
Evidence News vol. 14, No. 16
1 October 2014
Creation Research Australia