Semiaquatic adaptations in a giant predatory dinosaur

Nizar Ibrahim, Paul C. Sereno, Cristiano Dal Sasso, Simone Maganuco, Matteo Fabbri, David M. Martill, Samir Zouhri, Nathan Myhrvold, Dawid A. Iurino

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    Abstract

    We describe adaptations for a semiaquatic lifestyle in the dinosaur Spinosaurus aegyptiacus. These adaptations include retraction of the fleshy nostrils to a position near the mid-region of the skull and an elongate neck and trunk that shift the center of body mass anterior to the knee joint. Unlike terrestrial theropods, the pelvic girdle is downsized, the hindlimbs are short, and all of the limb bones are solid without an open medullary cavity, for buoyancy control in water. The short, robust femur with hypertrophied flexor attachment and the low, flat-bottomed pedal claws are consistent with aquatic foot-propelled locomotion. Surface striations and bone microstructure suggest that the dorsal “sail” may have been enveloped in skin that functioned primarily for display on land and in water.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1613-1616
    Number of pages4
    JournalScience
    Volume345
    Issue number6204
    Early online date11 Sep 2014
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 26 Sep 2014

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