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Spinosaurus



Nick Longrich writes;

>        Currie and Bakker were supposed to have suggested in a paper that
>Spinosaurus was in fact aquatic, which might explain the flexibility of
>the spine, and perhaps the spines themselves, and while it's perhaps not
>impossible that it did spend a lot of time in water (like a polarbear or
>otter) there isn't any incredibly good evidence that it did so (although
>again, it could be very hard to tell).

Here's a few thoughts...

Whenever I've seen Spinosaurus illustrated, it has always been living in an
arid environment  Is the artist taking clues from the modern environment
(and assuming no environmental change since) or is he/she using
paleoenvironmental clues?  If the latter is true, then the opportunity for
a semi-aquatic lifestyle is minimal and unlikely.

As an aside, there was an idea presented at the last North-Central GSA
meeting, which may close the door on the idea of a "sail-backed" theropod
(as well as any assumed flexibility of the spines).  By comparing animals
with large neural spines, he found that those with thin, needle-like spines
supported a sail, while those with broad, flat, and blade-like spines were
used to support a hump of some kind (similar to camels and pigs).  If
Spinosaurus carried a hump, then the spines would be rendered effectively
inflexible.  Who knows, perhaps Spinosaurus was the camel of it's day?

Rob Meyerson
Orphan Vertebrate Paleontologist

***
"If you're falling from a cliff, you might as well try to fly."
        -J.S.