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In an amazing discovery, scientists have uncovered the world’s first known swimming dinosaur having crocodile-like face.
The 15-metre-long behemoth is the only creature in the dinosaur family which has spent much of its life in the water, which seems to be the favorite Spinosaurus habitat.
Spinosaurus aegyptiacus is the swimming dinosaur which survives in the aquatic habitat with the help of its unique feet that is well suited for paddling and a sail-like structure rising from its spine, both helping the animal to swim, sail and survive in water.
The palaeontologists came across the incredible finding in Morocco while they were uncovering the fossils of a Spinosaurus aegyptiacus that constituted its skull, bones, and claws.
Dinosaur is largely considered to be a terrestrial animal. As Spinosaurus aegyptiacus lives in water, this makes the swimming dinosaur special as well as different from its counterparts both in habitat and body structure.
“Spinosaurus wasn’t a land animal. This was a creature adapted to life in the water,” Dr Nizar Ibrahim, paleontologist at the University of Chicago, said.
The researchers believe Spinosaurus must have lived in the waters of North Africa for about 97 million years ago (Ma) during Cretaceous, the last age of the dinosaurs.
The region, which is now eastern Morocco, was a rambling river and marshy system in that age. Fish, crocodiles and sharks are expected to be the food of the giant dinosaur.
Key features of Spinosaurus
- Their overall length was about 15.2 metres
- They had short rear legs ending in paddle-like feet and narrow thighs.
- They were awesome in hunting their prey in water but were similarly poorly adapted to chase them on land.
- A narrow upper jaw and long nostrils, similar to the crocodiles, together helped the creature to semi-submerge in the waters.
- Their blood vessel channels on tip of the snout allowed them to survive to the pressure changes created by fleeing prey.
- They had long forelimbs with hooked claws and backward slanted teeth.
- With the help of trunk and long neck, the creature was expected to walk upright on ground.
- They had unusually dense leg bones.
- Their most striking feature was the giant 1.8- metre long sail on its back which probably helped them in attracting their mating partners and also warning the enemies.
The study’s findings were detailed in the journal Science.