The Facts

  • Genus/Species: Spinosaurus aegyptiacus or  Eygption spine  and the Spinosaurus maroccanus or Moroccan spine lizard 
  • Conservation Status: Extinct  
  • Where Found: North Africa


The Scoop

The Dinosaur with a Sail

The Spinosaurus lived in the swamps of North Africa   around 98 to 95 million years ago, during what is known as the Cretaceous period. It lived both on land and water, like a crocodile.  It was called “the spiny lizard” because it had a series of long spines on its back that formed a sail-like fin. The spines were sometimes more than 6 feet long. The Spinosaurus' huge sail may have been used for regulating its temperature. It could collect warmth from the sun and also disperse excess body heat when in the shade. The sail may also have been used for mating rituals. The Spinosaurus walked on two legs, though now some scientists believe that it may occasionally have walked on all four limbs too. Its arms were smaller than its legs. It had a large head with a long narrow snout and powerful, crocodile-like jaws.

The Spinosaurus was enormous- some believe it was the largest of all meat eating dinosaurs.  It was about 40 to 50 feet long and weighed between 7 to 20 tons. When you think   of the fact that a monster truck weighs only 5 to 6 tons, you will get an idea of how huge the Spinosaurus was! The Spinosaurus had straight teeth, unlike other meat eating dinosaurs, which had serrated teeth. Its diet consisted of both fish and meat, depending on which was available- it mostly survived on fish and carcasses.

Did You Know?

  • Spinosaurus featured in the popular movie Jurassic Park 3. 
  • The spines of the Spinosaurus were more than 10 times the diameter of the vertebrae structures from which they extended. 
  • The sail of this dinosaur could also have been used to ward off enemies. The dinosaur appeared to be twice its size when the sail was fully extended. 
  • The Spinosaurus was one of the more intelligent dinosaurs.


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