The Spinosauridae Family
From the small Irritator to the huge Spinosaurus, we will talk about the dinosaurs in the Spinosauridae family.
There are a total of 6 species of dinosaurs belonging to the Spinosauridae family. They are characterized by their long crocodile-like snouts. Their teeth, which are like crocodiles - especially good for holding on to slippery fish, gave paleontologists the theory that they all fed mostly on fish while sometimes munching on a injured herbivore or eating a carcass.
Image by prehistoricwildlife.com http://www.prehistoric-wildlife.com/species/i/irritator.html
This was first discovered as a partially crushed skull in Brazil in the late 1960s. It lived in the early cretaceous. Very little is known about it due to the small amount of skeletons found. It is presumed that, like Spinosaurus, it had a small sail on its back. Some scientists argue that Angataurama is actually the same species. Its name means ”most irritating to build.” It could grow up to 26 feet or 8 meters long. It could have weighed 1.5 to 3 tonnes.
A Pterosaur fossil from South America had a section of neck vertebrae with bite marks and an embedded tooth, almost certainly belonging to Irritator. It shows Irritator could attack highly mobile, and even aerial, prey as well as the main food, fish.
Image by dinosaurmania.com tthp://jlgdinosauriomania.blogspot.com/2014/09/irritator-el-dinosaurio-de-la-semana.html
Artist rendering of “Irritator”
Intchyovenator is known from a single type species which was named and described by Ronan Allain. The size is uncertain but is estimated around 7.5 to 9 meters long. Even though it is only known from a few bones, it is very exciting because it is the largest Spinosauridae from Asia. It appears to have had 2 sails on its back, and the one nearest to the head was larger. Its fossils were found in Laos. Like all Spinosauridae known today, it was believed to eat mostly fish, while hunting injured herbivores, or eating dead animals.
Three Ithceyovenators Hunting For Fish In A Swamp image by deviant art user http://jiestat.deviantart.com/art/Ichthyovenator-400668355
One of the most famous of the Spinosauridae dinosaurs, this monster lived in the early Cretaceous period. Baryonyx’s intelligence is estimated to have been relatively high among the dinosaurs. Baryonyx fossils were found in 1983, in Surrey, England. They were discovered by an amateur fossil hunter named William Walker. It was the first meat-eating dinosaur found in England. Its name is Greek for “heavy claw.”
Baryonyx was believed to have snagged fish with its thumb claw. It had had almost twice as mant teeth as T-Rex with 96 teeth total, (T-Rex had about 60 total teeth.) Baryonyx could grow up to 32 feet (9.5 meters) long. It could weigh up to 1.5 to 2 tonnes. Once again, like all Spinosauridae, it fed mainly on fish.
Baryonyx Fishing image by critter gallery http://critters.pixel-shack.com/GalleryB.htm
This giant lived in the middle of the Cretaceous period in Africa. It was 36 feet (11 meters) long. It could weigh up to 5 tonnes. It had a small 2 foot long sail on its back. The first fossil, which was a thumb claw, was found by David Varricchio on December 4th, 1997. Suchomimus’ name was Greek for “crocodile mimic.” Only a single, possibly juvenile, fossil of Suchomimus has been identified.
Many paleontologists believed it could grow up to 40 feet long and could weigh up to 6 tonnes. Many believe it also used its arms to catch or spear fish.
Suchomimus image by Jurassic park wikia http://jurassicpark.wikia.com/wiki/Suchomimus
Oxalaia lived in the late Cretaceous in what is now Brazil. Its size is estimated to be 12 to 15 meters long. Oxalaia is known from very few fossils. Oxalaia’s name is a reference to the African deity Oxala. It was believed to have weighed 4 to 7 tonnes. It was much like Spinosaurus in the ways that it ate mostly fish, walked in four legs, and had a large sail on its back.
Oxalaia Size Compared To A 5Ft Human image by a deviant art user http://www.deviantart.com/morelikethis/collections/469504161?view_mode=2
Spinosaurus is one of the most famous dinosaurs due to its appearance in “Jurassic Park III.” It was arguably the most evolved spinosauridae. It was believed to have had webbed feet for better swimming. While in the water, it would look like a crocodile, but with a sail. It preyed mostly on fish. It lived in North Africa and competed with Carcharodontosaurus for non-fish food. It died out in the dry season when lakes dried up and with them, the fish. The first fossils were discovered by Ernst Stromer and were put in a a museum. Later, the remains were destroyed during an Allied bombing in World War II. However, more fossils were later discovered.
On land, Spinosaurus probably walked on 4 legs. It was 12.6 to 18 meters long. It lived in the Cretaceous period 97 to 112 million years ago. Many theories exist about what the sail was used for. The most likely was that it could be used for warming up or catching wind to cool down. This was the largest Spinosauridae dinosaur. It could weigh from 7 to 29 tonnes.