The Swimming Spinosaurus

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
New tail fossils reveal that Spinosaurus was an aquatic dinosaur
New tail fossils reveal that Spinosaurus was an aquatic dinosaur

A new Spinosaurus fossil has revealed that this gigantic predatory dinosaur was a proficient swimmer. The first fossil of the creature’s tail has been discovered, revealing large spines that indicate a paddle shape like a crocodile’s tail – the first dinosaur to show any kind of aquatic adaptation.

Spinosaurus was one of the largest carnivores to ever stalk the Earth. It’s believed to have been up to 18 m (59 ft) long and weigh more than 20 tons, making it bigger even than the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Its most iconic feature, of course, is the big sail on its back.

But the creature has only been known from scattered bones, after the most complete fossil was destroyed in World War II. And even then, very little had been known about the tail. Most reconstructions showed the Spinosaurus with a long, tapered tail – the same kind you’d see on a T-rex or any other therapod.

But excavations in the Moroccan Sahara Desert between 2015 and 2019 uncovered new Spinosaurus bones, including the long-sought tail. It turns out that this tail was made up of tall spines, some as long as 1 m (3.3 ft), as well as elongated chevrons – the bones that protrude out from under the vertebrae.

Drawings demonstrating the recovered bones and how they fit into the tail of the Spinosaurus

Drawings demonstrating the recovered bones and how they fit into the tail of the Spinosaurus
Drawings: Marco Auditore. Photos: Gabriele Bindellini

Much like the sail on the dinosaur’s back, this bone structure would have supported a tall, flat tail. That shape would have made the perfect paddle, propelling the huge creature through water in pursuit of prey. It also had denser vertebrae, which appear to help with ballast.

Read more

About the Common Constitutionalist

Brent, aka The Common Constitutionalist, is a Constitutional Conservative, and advocates for first principles, founders original intent and enemy of progressives. He is former Navy, Martial Arts expert. As well as publisher of the Common Constitutionalist blog, he also is a contributing writer for Political Outcast, Godfather Politics, Minute Men News (Liberty Alliance), Freedom Outpost, the Daily Caller, Vision To America and Free Republic. He also writes an exclusive weekly column for World Net Daily (WND).