50-foot-long swimming dinosaur reshapes human understanding about adaptation

The new research report revealed that Spinosaurus aegyptiacus were capable of full-fledged aquatic movements

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A unique fossil discovered by scientists in Morocco is providing insight into how a 50-foot-long dinosaur named Spinosaurus aegyptiacus lived in the ancient days. Interestingly this dinosaur, which weighed more than 7,000 kilograms, had a tail that was much longer than a matured Tyrannosaurus Rex (T-Rex), the most deadly predator ever lived on planet Earth.

More details of Spinosaurus

Researchers who discovered Spinosarurus revealed that these giant creatures lived 95 to 100 million years ago in the Cretaceous period. The research report published in journal Nature suggested that the long tail of Spinosaurus is the most extreme adaptation ever seen in a large dinosaur.

"This was basically a dinosaur trying to build a fishtail," said Nizar Ibrahim, a National Geographic explorer who is currently the lead researcher who examines the fossil.

During the time of Spinosaurus, many other groups of reptiles dolphin-like ichthyosaurs and the long-necked plesiosaurs had evolved to live in marine environments. Earlier, paleontologists believed that Spinosaurus was purely land dwellers, and they used to spend time in the water very rarely.

But now, the evidence from the newly analyzed tail strongly suggests that Spinosaurus did not merely roam in the shores, but they were capable of full-fledged aquatic movements. Researchers also believe that these dinosaurs even used to hunt marine animals like crocodiles while being underwater.

"This is certainly a bit of a surprise. Spinosaurus is even weirder than we thought it was," said Tom Holtz, a paleontologist at the University of Maryland, who was not involved in this study.

Dinosaur era continues to perplex researchers

A few months back, a team of researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences had discovered fossils of a dinosaur that weighed just 300 grams. These dinosaurs also had bat-like wings, and researchers suggested that these creatures might have flown across the skies during the Jurassic era.