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Re: Suchomimus vs Baryonyx: Dare to Compare

Tracy Ford wrote:

>Lets examine this. We have to play the picture all the way through. Sure
>it has a skull that looks similar to that of a ghavial. But the nostrals
>are still on the side of the skull and not the top, so it didn't float
>like a ghavial. It couldn't swim like a ghavial. The whole body
>ungulates, not just the tail. So we rule out swimming to catch a fish
>(it would have to have been a deep river, lake, to begin with). So it
>stood up to it's belly in a river. The rivers bottom would have to have
>been hard or it would have sunk into the mud. IT would have to have fast
>reflexes to catch the fish. The water would have to have been clear for
>it to see the fish. A 6 foot fish swiming in 6 feet of water is awfully
>shallow for it. The biggest fish usually are at the deepest part of the
>So I say no fish eater. What did it eat then? Terrestrial animals of
>A long skull, big claw, a fish eater dosen't make. The WHOLE animal
>needs to be looked at.
Both Paul Sereno and Tom Holtz (whom I interviewed for an upcoming New
Scientist article) think Suchomimus ate land animals as well as fish. It
had a relatively long, thin neck, plus very strong forearms and massive (by
theropod standards) shoulders. It shared the local environment with a
massive (10-15 meter, if I recall correctly) crocodile, built on a rather
modern design, which occupied the lurk-in-the-water carnivore niche. Tom
said the long jaw was better able to withstand twisting than the wider
skull of Carcharodontosaurus, so it would have attacked different, probably
smaller, prey on land. It also had a two-foot sail on its back, over the

This seems to be one weird critter, with no direct analogies today. The
body is somewhat bear-like, the skull crocidilian, and the neck longer than
either.  Was the narrow skull an adaptation to give greater head mobility
than possible with the massive skulls of other giant theropods?
-- Jeff Hecht